Millennium Space Systems’ ALTAIR Pathfinder Spacecraft Completes Demo Mission Goals

ALTAIR(TM) Pathfinder successfully deploying its solar arrays just after deploying from the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer on the International Space Station. (Credit: NanoRacks, NASA)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Dec. 6, 2017 (Millennium Space Systems PR) — Millennium Space Systems announces the successful completion of its ALTAIR™ Pathfinder mission objectives last week as the spacecraft reached its six-month milestone and 4,500 hours of successful operations in low earth orbit. ALTAIR™ Pathfinder was released via NanoRacks commercial launch service.

NanoRacks services are made available by its Space Act Agreement with NASA’s U.S. National Lab. Millennium Space recently received FCC approval to continue to operate the mission for an additional six months, thereby allowing a full year of on-orbit performance monitoring and technology risk burndown to benefit the company’s Government space customers.

“Since meeting our early mission objectives in June, the operations sustainment team has worked to selectively automate mission operations to improve lights-out operations,” said Griffith Russell, Millennium’s ALTAIR™ Pathfinder mission director. Other longer-term mission objectives matured the satellite’s on-board guidance control algorithms and perfected loop back testing using a dedicated flight computer. Successful on-orbit life testing reinforces the benefits of Millennium’s decision to vertically integrate the company three years ago. By designing and building in-house, Millennium maintains significantly better control over cost, schedule, performance and reliability.

ALTAIR™ Pathfinder leverages commercial space practices, balanced with the necessary engineering rigor and discipline to space qualify new and emerging technologies, reliably and affordably. This flight demonstration is only the beginning, Jason Kim, Millennium Space Systems’ vice president of strategic planning explained, saying, “The ALTAIR™ platform meets the growing demand for more affordable, resilient, high tech refresh, schedule responsive and persistent space systems and related constellation mission solutions.”

The company plans to continue the ALTAIR™ Pathfinder mission at least into spring 2018, amassing more flight burn-in hours, further quantifying component and subsystem performance, and using it as an experimental on-orbit testbed to assess and validate new software and algorithms relevant to the company’s mission portfolio.

About Millennium Space Systems

Millennium Space Systems is a privately held, employee-owned company founded in 2001, providing alternative, affordable solutions to today’s aerospace challenges. The company designs flight systems and provides mission and system solutions for national security space and civil space customers.

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  • Michael Halpern

    Another successful example of vertical integration in Space industry, if there is one thing that Musk did to shake up the industry before reuse, it was that, because more than anything vertical integration seems to have really proven successful in Aerospace, and virtually all companies in the industry are taking steps to adopt it at least partially, i mean it makes sense considering that these specialty high quality parts they need, so rather than pay someone else to make a production line that you have limited QA control over and they have limited assured demand for, make it yourself. I do wonder if SpaceX/Tesla will sell the Starlink satellite buses to others or keep it proprietary, i am guessing that they will sell the buses, possibly even alow them to link into the Starlink network for non-comunications payloads (or non primary communications) so that they just need tracking rf and more mass and power can be available for other purposes allowing Starlink to relay information to the ground (and route information through it as an extra node when the signal has to go a bit farther before reaching a ground station). I don’t see why they wouldn’t, it would expand the utility of the Starlink network and provide a service that no other small satellite bus can provide, high speed connection to the payload without dedicating most if not all of the bus’s volume and power availability to communications.