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Reminiscent of a chrome-plated exhaust manifold from a 20th century vehicle.

enter image description here

The Teslarati article SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy flies a complex mission for the Air Force in launch video discusses the upcoming third Falcon Heavy mission STP-2 and links to the SpaceX (unlisted?) video STP-2 Animation.

Prior to propulsive passivation (What is "propulsive passivation" and why will the SpaceX STP-2 mission do it?) the strangely-shaped DSX payload is deployed.

SpaceX STP-2 mission DSX payload


Question: Telsarati points out that SpaceX has a special website for this payload: https://www.spacex.com/stp-2 and there is a detailed image there as well as a detailed explanation of experiments. But I don't understand (at least) two things:

  1. Why is DSX two satellites connected by a ring?
  2. What are all those tubes on box on the right (image below)?

SpaceX STP-2 mission DSX payload

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    $\begingroup$ I would assume they were wiring harness, but if the ring doubled as a heat sync they could be heat pipes. Interesting. $\endgroup$ – JCRM Apr 24 at 7:58
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As explained in the first link Google gives me, the ring is the secondary payload adapter. The satellite was designed to be launched as a secondary payload to save on costs, but is larger than the typical secondary payload. So they decided to split it in two halves, one for experiments and one for control and keep them connected using the secondary payload adapter. The massive structure of the ring also serves as a heat sink that helps keeping the temperature of the satellite more stable.

The pipes you mention are not to be found in any other of the quite schematic drawings. They are likely connected to the extruding antennas that will be deployed to a final length of at least 25 m on each side (numbers mentioned vary)

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    $\begingroup$ I haven't found any schematic drawings that either do or don't show those (five?) apparently carefully routed tubes. Can you add one or two links or show one or two that you are seeing? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 21 at 11:01

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