Design and Systems Engineering of AFRL's Demonstration and Sciences Experiment
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The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate has developed the Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) mission to research technologies needed to significantly advance Department of Defense (DoD) capability to operate spacecraft in the harsh radiation environment of medium-earth orbits (MEO). The ability to operate effectively in the MEO environment significantly increases the DoD’s capability to field space systems that provide persistent global targeting-grade space surveillance, high-speed satellite-based communication, lower-cost GPS navigation, and protection from space weather on a responsive satellite platform. The three DSX experiments areas are: 1. Wave Particle Interaction Experiment (WPIx): Researching the physics of very-low-frequency (VLF) transmissions in the magnetosphere and characterizing the feasibility of natural and manmade VLF waves to reduce space radiation; 2. Space Weather Experiment (SWx): Characterizing and modeling the space radiation environment in MEO, an orbital regime attractive for future DoD and commercial missions; 3. Space Environmental Effects (SFx): Researching and characterizing the space weather effects on spacecraft electronics and materials. DSX uses a modular design that allows for launch either as a primary satellite on a conventional launcher, such as a Minotaur, or as a secondary payload on a larger rocket, such as the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV). An overview of the DSX spacecraft design, requirements, systems engineering approach, bus subsystems, payload designs, and experiments will be described.