The Moog ESPA Ring and other payload adapters support multiple satellites of different sizes on NSSL class launch vehicles (formerly EELVs, i.e., Falcon 9, Atlas V, Delta IV, OmegA, Vulcan, New Glenn), the Minotaur family of launchers, and the emerging class of small satellite launch vehicles. Moog adapters can be used for satellites ranging from ESPA-Grande class to CubeSats, and they provide the structural hub for Moog’s family of Orbital Maneuvering Vehicles (OMVs).
ESPA, the Evolved Secondary Payload Adapter, was developed for the Air Force to utilize excess launch capacity by mounting additional payloads below the primary spacecraft. This reduces launch costs for the primary mission and enables secondary and even tertiary satellites with minimal impact to the original mission. ESPA has become an industry standard small satellite adapter.
The ESPA ring allows secondary satellites, up to 991 pounds (450 kg) each, to "share a ride to space" on NSSL class launch vehicles while carrying a large primary satellite. ESPA can accommodate up to a 17,000-pound (7,711 kg) primary spacecraft using the standard 62-inch (1575 mm) NSSL interface bolt pattern, and it is a drop-in component in the launch stack. The standard secondary interface on ESPA is a 15‑inch diameter bolt circle.
ESPA Grande allows secondary satellites up to 1,543 pounds (700 kg) each while maintaining the same primary interface and primary spacecraft capacity of the standard ESPA. The Grande secondary interface is a 24-inch diameter bolt circle. The ESPA Grande has also been used as a primary payload, with a stack of adapters for constellation deployment.
The ESPA structure underwent extensive engineering analysis and a qualification testing to demonstrate its capability to withstand the harsh launch environment. Moog can provide the mechanical design, stress analysis and structural test engineering to tailor ESPA for each customer's needs including modifying the number and size of interface ports, adding mounting pads, and/or modifying the ring height.
ESPA can be used as secondary payload adapter, constellation deployment dispenser, satellite structural bus, or platform for a free-flyer.
CASPAR, the Composite Adapter for Shared Payload Rides, is a Multi-Payload Adapter (MPA) developed by Moog with whole-spacecraft vibration isolation for the Minotaur IV Launch Vehicle. CASPAR accommodates two 1500-lb (680-kg) satellites, or up to four ESPA-class satellites when used with one or two Flat-Plate Adapters (FPAs).
Flat-Plate Adapter (FPA)
Moog’s Flat-Plate Adapter supported NASA's GRAIL mission on its Delta II launch. The FPA is compatible with ESPA or CASPAR, and it mounts two or more ESPA-class satellites side by side. FPA is available with Moog’s SoftRide vibration isolation and it can be scaled up or down for larger or smaller spacecraft. FPA's can be used to adapt custom spacecraft designs to standard interfaces including on the ESPA.