ESPA Based Satellite Bus

Period of Performance: 03/29/2010 - 06/01/2012


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

L'Garde, Inc.
15181 Woodlawn Avenue
Tustin, CA 92780
Principal Investigator


A significant number of space launches, both government and commercial, have considerable mass margin that could be used by inserting an EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) ring. This ring could be transformed into a standard spacecraft bus with capability to add up to six different payloads or be utilized as a spacecraft itself. The transformed ESPA will have one of six of the available slots occupied by a small satellite. This satellite can be designed to provide power, electrical, mechanical, logical, and communications capability to other ESPA-attached payloads. Under this Phase II SBIR we will design a ESPA-Sat based CubeSat with significant capability to support AFRL/DoD missions using proven COTS components. We are also proposing to include a novel optical correction technique of a 1m diameter membrane telescope mirror to enable the CubeSat to perform sub-meter imaging. We are taking the best of CubeSat capabilities and adding those to the ESPA-Sat. Not only can ESPA-based satellite reduce the cost of launching multiple satellites, but the concentration of launch opportunities per ESPA-based satellite bus will promote small-sat development in the direction of standardized packaging, ultimately leading to savings in small satellite development, construction, and operation. BENEFIT: By providing a low-cost platform to launch small satellites into available payload slots that would have flown empty anyway, we will promote small satellite development by universities, research institutions, the private commercial sector, and the government. Because the ESPA-Sat will provide power, electrical, mechanical, logical, and communication needs to the attached payloads, it will further reduce the cost of small satellite development by the user community. This is a low-cost, high-payoff opportunity. The novel optical correction technique proposed will significantly advance the state-of-the-art by providing an inexpensive sub-meter imaging spacecraft bus to the aerospace community. When this objective is attained, L Garde envisions the Air Force, other branches of the DoD, the government, universities and other research institutions to be potential customers of this technology.