Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

Space Systems Command, Spaceflight Inc. Prepare for Launch of Experimental Satellites

Space Systems Command News Release

2023 June 10

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Space Systems Command (SSC)'s Space Domain Awareness & Combat Power (SDA&CP), is preparing to launch the Space Test Program (STP)-CR2301 mission to deliver three experimental satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The STP-CR2301 mission, in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Department of Defense (DoD) is scheduled to launch June 12 from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in northern Santa Barbara County on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket procured by Spaceflight Inc. (SFI). Following first stage separation, the Falcon 9 will return to Landing Zone (LZ)-4 at Vandenberg near its launch pad approximately eight minutes after liftoff. Live coverage of the launch and landing can be seen on streaming video at

The three experimental satellites to be delivered by STP-CR2301 to the low Earth orbit includes two Modular Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (MISR) CubeSats and an XVI military communications spacecraft. The MISR CubeSats demonstrate two-way communications with ground devices as well as experiment with novel methods for the DoD to tactically leverage small satellite capabilities. The XVI CubeSat will test the capacity of the Link-16 network to communicate to space.

STP-CR2301 is another example of demonstrating commercially available rideshare solutions for placing USSF satellite capabilities on-orbit, providing flexibility and resiliency for the USSF, and supporting warfighter requirements in an increasingly contested environment. “Cultivating multiple paths to space for experimental satellites is imperative to maintain continued access as space becomes further congested and contested," said Lt. Col. Jonathan Shea, SSC's director of the DoD's Space Test Program.

STP manifests experiments based on the prioritized list of critical space technologies generated by the Space Experiment Review Board (SERB) as well as the ability of the payloads to meet the launch dates, and orbital requirements. “STP is proud to be the front door for experimental satellites looking for a ride to space.” Shea said.

STP-CR2301 is managed by the DoD STP office located at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. SSC's SDA&CP headquartered at Los Angeles Air Force Base, administers the DoD STP which delivers experimental demonstrations of new capabilities and expedient space access solutions for research and development experiments.

SDA&CP is the program executive office within SSC that is responsible for delivering ground- and space-based infrastructure and systems that identify threats to national, allied, and commercial space systems. Its innovations integrate seamlessly across the space enterprise and promote deterrence by providing advances in space-enabled warfighting capabilities to our joint military forces.

SSC is the U.S. Space Force's field command responsible for acquiring and delivering resilient war fighting capabilities to protect our nation's strategic advantage in and from space. SSC manages an $11 billion space acquisition budget for the DoD and works in partnership with joint forces, industry, government agencies, academic and allied organizations to accelerate innovation and outpace emerging threats. Our actions today are making the world a better space for tomorrow.

This story was originally titled "Space Systems Command, Spaceflight Inc. Prepare for West Coast Launch of Three Experimental Satellites Aboard SpaceX Transporter-8 Mission Monday".

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