CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. – A cadre of satellites fastened securely atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is scheduled for launch Wednesday, March 8.  Department of Defense Space Test Program-1 (STP-1) is a multi-satellite Research & Development mission that will deliver six separate — four small satellites and two larger spacecraft — to different earth orbits.  The launch is set to take place from Space Launch Complex 41 here during a launch window that extends from 9:37 p.m. to 10:42 p.m. (EST).

The mission marks the first launch of Air Force payloads on an Atlas V and the first flight of the EELV Secondary Payload Adaptor (ESPA). The large payloads are the Orbital Express in-space refueling demonstration mission, consisting of the Autonomous Space Transfer and Robotic Orbiter prototype servicing satellite and the NextSat serviceable spacecraft. The Atlas V booster will also deploy four smaller satellites including the MidSTAR 1 for the U.S. Naval Academy; the FalconSat 3 for the U.S. Air Force Academy; the STPSat 1 for the Space Test Program contract with AeroAstro and the CFESat for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. 

The MidSTAR is a general-purpose satellite bus capable of supporting a variety of space missions by easily accommodating a wide range of space experiments and instruments. The Air Force academy spacecraft will carry two plasma sensors, as well as an experimental thruster.  The sensors help the military better forecast plasma bubbles in space that can damage satellites and look at the effect of the host spacecraft on plasma in the local space environment, to see how satellite signals can be delayed or degraded on their way to Earth.The STPSat 1, a 3-axis stabilized spacecraft, hosts the optical SHIMMER payload and several smaller experiments and at the end of its mission it will deploy two MEPSI (Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems-based PicoSat Inspector) nanosatellites designed to facilitate detection and tracking via ground-based radar. Last, the Cibola Flight Experiment Satellite (CFESat) will survey portions of the VHF and UHF radio spectra to detect and measure impulsive events that occur in a complex background.


1.  Vehicle roll out to SLC-41:  Media representatives interested in covering the vehicle roll out must report to the parking lot of the old Florida Space Authority complex on Wednesday, March 7, by 10 a.m. for a 10:15 a.m. departure.

2.  Remote camera set-up:  Media representatives interested in setting up remote cameras must report to the parking lot of the old Florida Space Authority complex on Wednesday, March 7, at 2:00 p.m. 

3.  Pre-launch news conferences:  There will be two pre-launch news conferences Wednesday, March 7 at the old Florida Space Authority auditorium (located adjacent to the South Gate of Cape Canaveral AFS).  The mission specific news conference will start at 4 p.m.  The spacecraft specific conference will immediately follow at 4:30. 4.  Live satellite feed:  Thursday, March 8, Galaxy 26 (formerly Intelsat IA6) Transponder C-11.

9:00 PM to 9:14 PM ET (14 minutes) 8 March 2007 Test signals 9:14 PM ET 8 March 2007 Program begins Program will end no later than 1 AM ET 9 March 2007

5.  Launch day coverage:  Media representatives interested in covering the launch from Kennedy Space Center must report to the parking lot at the old Florida Space Authority complex on Thursday, March 8 by 7:45 p.m. for badging for an 8:00 p.m. departure.  Media with a permanent Kennedy Space Center badge will not require an escort and should drive directly to the KSC News Center.

6.  Webcast: The launch can be viewed via Webcast at:

7.  HDNET broadcast:  HDNet will broadcast the launch of the Atlas V/STP-1 in high definition television. The HDNet networks are available on Adelphia, Bright House, Charter, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable and more than 40 cable affiliate companies.  Visit for more information.