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Millennium Space Systems Completes Successful ALTAIR Pathfinder Mission

Press Release From: Millennium Space
Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Millennium Space Systems completed the final phase of its highly successful ALTAIR™ Pathfinder satellite mission Nov. 17. After 548 days operating the satellite from the ALTAIR™ mission operations center at Millennium's headquarters in El Segundo, and amassing more than 13,000 hours of performance to reduce technology risk, the ALTAIR™ Pathfinder operations team decommissioned the satellite and prepared for it to naturally de-orbit.

"ALTAIR™ Pathfinder has been a resilient and flexible satellite," said Griffith Russell, Millennium's mission director. "Combining autonomous routine operations with ease of reprogramming for special opportunities, ALTAIR™ Pathfinder efficiently delivered significant technical performance data that will directly benefit our customers, stakeholders and Boeing's space business."

Millennium developed ALTAIR™ Pathfinder in under 12 months, as an internally funded orbiting technology-proving mission to increase the technology readiness level of its ALTAIR™ small satellite platforms. The satellite incorporates the company's in-house-developed avionics, processor, flight and ground software, guidance, navigation and control components, 3D-printed structures, batteries, power switching and solar array deployment mechanisms. 

During its 18-month mission, the sophisticated 3-axis-controlled spacecraft successfully demonstrated subsystems for data handling, RF communications, power conditioning and attitude determination and control, as well as exercising Millennium's mission software and ground operations infrastructure, which the company is already incorporating into its upcoming missions. 

ALTAIR™ Pathfinder's configurability allowed Millennium to perform important experiments with Kratos Federal Solutions Group. Kratos' Chief Architect Gerry Simon added that ALTAIR™ Pathfinder was "an invaluable asset for proving out the Air Force's Enterprise Ground Services concepts with Kratos software engaged in actual on-orbit demonstrations. We're grateful for the collaboration with the Millennium team and to have had the opportunity to be part of this rapid prototyping effort."

Millennium's first operational ALTAIR™ satellites are scheduled to launch next year. The success of ALTAIR™ Pathfinder increases mission assurance for these upcoming missions and validates critical operations procedures and software.

"Millennium's four-year development path in vertical integration is paying dividends on many fronts - giving us significantly greater control over cost and schedule, ownership of the technologies, and ensuring we're maintaining our position as a credible, alternative provider of affordable and responsive advanced space mission solutions for our customers," said Mike Todaro, Millennium's vice president of Mission Integration & Space Operations. "The recent acquisition by Boeing brings depth and experience in manufacturing, mission and systems integration, mission and technology research and development, investment and operations."

About Millennium Space Systems, A Boeing Company

Millennium Space Systems is a non-fully integrated subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Founded in November 2001, Millennium provides alternative, relevant and affordable solutions to today's aerospace challenges. The company designs flight systems and develops mission and system solutions for the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, NASA and commercial customers. With Millennium's proven ALTAIR™ and AQUILA™ products, Boeing is now positioned to offer customers the full range of space capabilities and missions today, tailored to specific needs, budgets and schedules.

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