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The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is responsible for the development and execution of the DSX (originally Deployable Structures Experiment), now Demonstration & Science Experiments, also known as Space Science Technology Experiment (SSTE-4), a suite of four science payloads integrated onto a Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) ring based three axis stabilized satellite bus nominally slated for launch into a 6000 × 12000 km, 30 degree inclination Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) in the 2010 timeframe with one year required and three year desired operational capability.

Unlike the traditional ESPA approach, in DSX the experiments and host spacecraft stay attached and do not deploy. After the primary satellite in the EELV is deployed, the DSX ESPA separates from the EELV 2nd stage booster to become a free-flyer spacecraft. To address the space access aspect of the rapid-response problem, DSX will utilize an EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) capability as a platform for highly-capable small and medium free-flying satellites (or ESPASats) that have plentiful and relatively inexpensive launch opportunities on EELV as secondary payloads.

Alternate Names

  • 44344

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2019-06-25
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Heavy
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

  • United States Air Force Academy (United States)


  • Technology Applications

Additional Information

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

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