Moog Lifts Secondary Satellites with ESPA Ring at the 2012 National Space Symposium
18 April 2012
East Aurora, N.Y. – April 16, 2012 – Moog Space and Defense Group, part of Moog Inc. (NYSE: MOG.A and MOG.B), will display a flight equivalent Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter, also known as an ESPA ring, at the 28th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from April 16 – 19, 2012. Moog has designed its latest generation of ESPA rings for duty as either small satellite payload adapters, intermediate uses such as orbital transfer or maneuvering vehicles, or satellite busses with avionics, solar panels and propulsion.
The Moog ESPA ring gives up to six 400 lb (180 kg) secondary satellites a ride into space along with a primary satellite. Moog’s ESPA ring bolts atop the launch stack and under the primary satellite on launch vehicles such as Atlas V, Delta IV, Falcon 9, or Antares.
“Our secondary payload adapters reduce the cost of getting satellites into space,” said Joe Maly, ESPA Program Manager at Moog. “The U.S. Department of Defense and NASA as well as large aerospace companies and universities have seen the economic advantage of using these adapters to put satellites into orbit.”
The aluminum ESPA rings range in diameter from 38.8 to 62 in (0.9 to 1.6 m), depending upon the mission. Moog makes the ESPA ring in heights ranging from 15 to 42 in (0.38 to 1.1 m). The ring designs include a small launch ESPA ring, with six ports for attaching secondary payloads, and the ESPA Grande ring, with four or five, 24 in diameter (0.6 m diameter) ports capable of ferrying satellites up to 660 lb (300 kg) each. The ESPA interfaces are becoming industry standards for small satellites.
The ESPA ring’s maiden voyage took place on March 8, 2007, as part of the U.S. Air Force’s STP-1. On that mission, the Air Force Space Development and Test Wing chose Moog’s ESPA ring to launch six satellites on an Atlas V launch vehicle. In June 2009, Moog’s ESPA ring also carried NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to the moon; in October 2009, the LCROSS, with the ESPA as its satellite bus, impacted the lunar surface uncovering definitive evidence of water.
“When implementing the ESPA ring, our mantra is ‘Do no harm to the primary satellite,’” added Maly. “To address vibration, acoustics and acceleration load factors, we’ve engineered our ESPA rings with a ‘stiffness-driven design’ that will not only survive launch but also minimize any effect on the primary satellite.”
Moog has developed designs to implement its patented whole-spacecraft vibration isolation, or SoftRide technology, for the ESPA ring, including the SoftRide ShockRing that flew on STP-1. SoftRide isolation is available for the primary or secondary satellites on ESPA.