Terran Orbital Delivers NASA Pathfinder (PTD-3) Satellite Carrying MIT Lincoln Laboratory Payload Ahead of SpaceX Transporter-5 Mission

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Terran Orbital Corporation has delivered its Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3 (PTD-3) satellite to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida for integration ahead of SpaceX’s Transporter-5 mission.

Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator 3 (Photo: Terran Orbital Corporation)

PTD-3 is a 6-unit (6U) CubeSat built and integrated by Terran Orbital to host and support launch and on-orbit operations of the TeraByte InfraRed Delivery (TBIRD) payload funded by NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program and developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MITLL). The TBIRD mission is the second mission in the PTD series funded by the Small Spacecraft Technology program in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The mission will demonstrate a space-to-ground data transfer capability at orders of magnitude faster than previously demonstrated technologies. This technology could open doors to large volume data communications and data accessibility for advanced space exploration— delivering multiple terabytes of data per day to a single ground station.

“Terran Orbital is thrilled to deliver pioneering satellite solutions that are changing the space landscape,” said Terran Orbital Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Marc Bell. “PTD-3 will not only disrupt the way our Earth receives data, but also fine-tune future mission capabilities. We look forward to fostering our relationships with NASA, MITLL, and SpaceX as we continue to deliver groundbreaking technologies.”

Each PTD mission consists of a 6U CubeSat weighing approximately 12 kilograms and measuring 36 cm × 23 cm × 10 cm. Each PTD spacecraft will also be equipped with deployable solar arrays that can provide a peak power of 120 watts while on orbit.

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