This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at MightySat 1

Class: Technology. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: Orbital Sciences.

MightySat is a United States Air Force Phillips Laboratory multi-mission, small satellite program dedicated to providing frequent, inexpensive, on-orbit demonstrations of space system technologies.

The MightySat payload will launched from the Shuttle via the Hitchhiker Ejection System, which is managed out of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. The payload will deployed on flight day twelve.

The primary objective of the MightySat program is to provide on-orbit demonstrations of emerging technologies. Data from the mission will be used to support decisions on the readiness of the tested technology for Air Force missions.

The Mightysat-1 payload is a non-retrievable spacecraft that will be deployed from the Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-88. The MightySat payload has five advance technology demonstration experiments. The Advanced Composite Structure, which serves as the structure for the vehicle, has no command interfaces with the spacecraft. All relevant data on the structure will be captured in ground testing. The Advanced Solar Cell Experiment will test the performance of dual-junction solar cells comprised of Gallium Indium Phosphide layers atop a Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) layer. These dual junction cells provide more power than conventional GaAs cells. As a result, this advance in space power technology can be useful for power–intensive sensors in the future and small satellite missions which have power constraints.

The Microsystem and Packaging for Low Power Electronics (MAPLE) experiment is a demonstration of advanced microelectronics and electronics packaging techniques. The objective is to provide an on-orbit demonstration of the electronics in the space environment. The Shape-Memory Actuated Release Device (SMARD) payload will demonstrate a new class of low shock release devices. Release devices are used to separate satellites from launch vehicle adapters, or to deploy antennae, solar arrays, and sensor covers. Such devices offer reduced shock levels because the separation time is longer. They are low-cost and can be completely reset. Lastly, the objective of the Micro-Particle Impact Detector (MPID) experiment is to place as many detectors into space to provide indications of natural and man-made orbital debris.

The payload will be mounted in the orbiter bay 6 port location on a GSFC-provided HH ABA, with the MightySat 1 canister mounted in the forward position and the HH avionics mounted in the aft position.

After the payload bay doors are opened, the crew will activate the power and signal path to the HH carrier via the standard switch panel. The satellite will be ejected from the HH canister on Flight Day 12. MightySat 1 is spring-ejected at a minimum rate of 1.7 fps and requires an overflight of a specific location in Albuquerque, N.M. within 6 hours of deploy. Once ejection is complete, flight operations are complete for the satellite. Telemetry and command capability will then be via the Payload Operations Control Center (POCC) at GSFC.

The program manager for MightySat-1 is Lt. Barbara Braun from the Air Force Research Laboratory.


MightySat 1 is the first flight of a U.S. Air Force (USAF) Philips Laboratory/Space Experiments Directorate ejectable technology demonstration platform. Four advanced technologies will be demonstrated on MightySat 1. These technologies include a composite structure, advanced solar cells, advanced electronics, and a shock device.


Total Mass: 320 kg.

MightySat 1 Chronology

29 October 1998 Mightysat 1 Launch Site: Cape Canaveral . Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. Mass: 320 kg. Perigee: 381 km. Apogee: 395 km. Inclination: 51.6 deg.

First flight of a USAF Philips Laboratory/Space Experiments Directorate ejectable technology demonstration platform. Four advanced technologies demonstrated, including composite structure, advanced solar cells, advanced electronics, and a shock device.

19 July 2000 Mightysat 2.1 Launch Site: Vandenberg . Launch Vehicle: Minotaur. Perigee: 547 km. Apogee: 581 km. Inclination: 97.8 deg.

Mightysat 2.1, also known as Sindri, used a Spectrum Astro SA-200B satellite bus. The spacecraft carried a hyperspectral imager for earth imaging and spectroscopy, as well as satellite technology experiments such as advanced solar arrays. An Aerospace Corp./DARPA picosatellite experiment, consisting of two small boxes connected by a deployable tether, was deployed later. Similar picosats were deployed on the previous Minotaur launch in January 2000.

Back to Index
Last update 12 March 2001.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments.
Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .