A Handy-Dandy Satellite Mount: The Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force Research Lab have developed a device that will enable a launch vehicle to carry up to six additional small satellites—saving the cost of multiple launches. It is dubbed the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter, or ESPA ring. It’s a half-inch thick aluminum ring—about five feet in diameter and two feet tall—that fits between the rocket and the largest satellite, with mounts around the ring to attach additional satellites. The Air Force plans to fly the inaugural ESPA this fall.
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.