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MITEx NRL Upper Stage

MITEx NRL Upper Stage [DARPA]

The MITEx (Micro-Satellite Technology Experiment) experiment contains also an experimental upper stage developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

This stage will put several new technologies to the test including:

  • Platinum/rhodium bi-propellant attitude control thrusters
  • High-performance coated columbium delta-V thruster
  • Commercial off-the-shelf manual valve tested to aerospace standards
  • Light-weight Inconel-718 composite overwrap pressure vessels
  • Lightweight titanium propellant tanks with internal propellant management devices
  • Triple junction solar cells
  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • A low-cost/high-performance star tracker

The stage ferried the two MiTEx satellites from the egg-shaped geosynchronous transfer orbit reached by the Delta-7925 rocket to the circular geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator. That high orbit allows spacecraft to match the planet's rotation and appear fixed over one location.

Once arriving in geostationary orbit, the satellite pair was deployed from the stage to begin independent lives examining the value of operating miniature craft from such a high vantage point above Earth. The demonstration gave military planners real-life experience to draw upon when designing new projects.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: DARPA
Contractors: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
Equipment:
Configuration:
Propulsion:
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime:
Mass:
Orbit: GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
MITEx NRL Upper Stage (USA 189) 2006-024C 21.06.2006 CC SLC-17A Delta-7925 with MITEx A, MITEx B
Further MITEX missions: