Orion Space Solutions has reached a significant milestone in its collaboration with the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The company, along with its team, has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the Tetra-5 program, which is a crucial step in advancing U.S. space capabilities.
The Tetra-5 program, under the direction of the SSC and AFRL, is an innovative initiative aimed at demonstrating advanced multi-agent autonomous Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking (RPOD) capabilities. This program specifically focuses on the implementation of on-orbit refueling, which is a key capability for future space operations.
William Armijo, Orion’s Vice President of Space Systems, expressed his excitement about the milestone and emphasized the collaborative nature of the project. He stated that Orion Space Solutions and their extended team are looking forward to working closely with the government to begin production work on the Tetra-5 vehicles and sensors.
The Tetra-5 mission plans to deploy a constellation of three prototype spacecraft that are designed to operate for at least two years in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO). These spacecraft will not only showcase essential docking capabilities for on-orbit refueling but also demonstrate next-generation autonomous collaboration techniques. These techniques are crucial for inspection tasks and serve as a precursor for on-orbit servicing and anomaly resolution, which are areas of growing interest and importance in the space industry.
The completion of the CDR in just 13 months since the award announcement highlights the efficiency and dedication of the Orion team and its partners. This rapid progress reflects the high priority placed on space capabilities by the U.S. government and the agility of private companies like Orion in responding to these needs.
Orion’s role in the Tetra-5 mission is further strengthened by the participation of various subcontractors, including Hera Systems, Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton, SCOUT Space Inc., Sedaro, Utah State University, and ICR, Inc. The involvement of these diverse entities underscores the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of modern space missions. Each subcontractor brings unique skills and expertise, contributing to the overall success and innovation of the Tetra-5 mission.
The successful completion of the CDR marks a significant achievement for Orion Space Solutions as the company continues to expand its portfolio of space-based solutions. It showcases Orion’s capabilities in the aerospace sector and its role in enhancing the technological prowess of the U.S. military’s space operations.