Jumping for Joy

The Defense Department’s operationally responsive space office has chosen SpaceDev, Inc., a self-proclaimed developer of innovative space technologies headquartered in Ponway, Calif., to provide the spacecraft bus for its upcoming Jumpstart experiment. The company will provide its Trailblazer spacecraft bus as the primary payload for the Jumpstart mission, according to a May 28 release from the ORS office, which is located at Kirtland AFB, N.M. Jumpstart is designed to validate new processes and procedures for quickly placing satellites in orbit to support the needs of combatant commanders for increased space-based communications and information-gathering capability in crises or during conflict. A SpaceX Falcon 1 launch vehicle is set to carry the Trailblazer, along with several experimental ancillary payloads into space in late June from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Trailblazer will serve as a risk-reduction platform for the type of flexible, modular bus design that DOD wants to support future ORS missions.