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Designated Mission 0, the TAOS payload was built by the Air Force Phillips Laboratories. It was flown aboard a Space Test Experiment Platform (STEP) designed to meet Air Force needs for a standardized space vehicle tailored to host Space Test Program experiments. These advanced research and development experiments were generally small, relatively fast-turnaround, and best suited to modestly sized vehicles. This mission demonstrated STEP's ability to accommodate larger payloads as well. It demonstrated autonomous satellite navigation, a standardized space data bus, advanced radiation hardened processors, and laser and radar sensors.

The flight configuration for the TAOS mission consisted of TRW's standard core module housing electronics and housekeeping systems; a propulsion system/ adapter module; the payload module; and a deployment module that hosted several TAOS experiments on an exposed honeycomb plate. Two articulated solar panels were stowed around the satellite at launch.

Alternate Names

  • USA 101
  • 23030
  • Space Test Exp Platform 0
  • STEP0

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1994-03-13
Launch Vehicle: Taurus
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 502 kg

Funding Agency

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Air Force (United States)


  • Surveillance and Other Military

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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