Air Force Eyes Next Space Experiments

The US Air Force Research Laboratory has picked the candidates for its next major spaceflight experiment. And the nominees are…AMWSE, the Advanced Missile Warning Sensors Experiment; and AXIOM, the Advanced Experiment in Orbital Manipulation.

AFRL plans to solicit proposals for AMWSE and AXIOM via a broad area announcement to be released in three to six months, and to select one or both concepts to be built and flown.

AMWSE will characterize space-based missile warning sensor technologies. AXIOM will demonstrate new uses for advanced solar arrays combined with Hall Effect electric thrusters.

The baseline for AXIOM is a single lightweight, high-power solar array wing and a single thruster on a small spacecraft bus that will conduct extensive maneuvering at altitudes that may range from LEO to GEO, says AFRL.

The US Air Force’s Space Test Program has launched 26 missions, the most recent in November 2010 carrying the STPSat-2 standard payload-interface demonstrator, FASTSAT low-cost microsatellite bus, FASTRAC autonomous-navigation nanosat, and FalconSat-5 science microsat.

FASTSAT (Concept: NASA)

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