NRO’s Rapid Pathfinder Spacecraft Marks Its 3rd Year of Near-Flawless On-Orbit Operations

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Built by Millennium’s Space Systems, the Rapid Pathfinder Spacecraft exemplifies affordability and high performance in space systems development, and continues on-orbit operations at 99% availability since launch.

Today marks the 3rd year of near-flawless on-orbit operations of the Rapid Pathfinder Program (RPP) spacecraft, developed for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Millennium Space Systems announced that today marks the 3rd year of near-flawless on-orbit operations of the Rapid Pathfinder Program (RPP) spacecraft, developed for the National Reconnaissance Office’s Advanced Science and Technology (AS&T) directorate.

RPP launched 06 February 2011 from Vandenberg AFB aboard a dedicated Minotaur-1 rocket into a high inclination, high LEO orbit, to enable low cost space demonstration capability. As a testament to its success, the Rapid Pathfinder Government Team received the 2011 DNI Intelligence Community’s Non-Major Systems Acquisition Team Award. Millennium is proud of its achievements in service to the NRO, whose leadership was instrumental in making the program possible.

The RPP spacecraft is an exemplar of high quality, high performance, relevant space systems that can be built and launched responsively and affordably. RPP is a micro-satellite class vehicle with full 3-axis stabilized high performance guidance & control, and flexible interfaces, key to accommodating different payloads, allowing for low risk and shorter integration schedules. At-that-time NRO Director Bruce Carlson stated shortly after the launch, “RPP set a new price point for the NRO” – a new satellite design, delivered 24 months from PDR.

“RPP’s proven platform and architecture serves as the foundation of our affordable, high performance flight systems offerings to support more disaggregated and resilient architectures for gap-filler and augmentation missions, as well as for insertion into future operational systems,” commented Hillary Kenevan, Millennium’s RPP Mission Operations Lead. Conceived as a scalable architecture to support small to medium class missions demanding affordability, low risk, and responsive schedule - and that must-work, the RPP spacecraft has exceeded all requirements including its two-year mission design life.

About Millennium Space Systems
Founded in 2001, Millennium Space Systems is privately held and employee-owned. The company provides alternative and relevant solutions to today’s aerospace challenges, developing flight systems and mission solutions for the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and National Aeronautics & Space Administration. The Space Manufacturing Facility and Mission Operations Center are in Southern California, conveniently located near LAX. For more information, visit

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Jason Kim
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