Defense will test tactical satellite apps

Defense will test tactical satellite apps

The Defense Department plans to launch an experimental satellite early next year from the inaugural flight of the Falcon rocket to support battlefield information needs.

TacSat-1 will be designed, built and launched at a cost of roughly $15 million, said retired Vice Adm. Arthur Cebrowski, director of force transformation, in a background paper released today by the Office of Force Transformation.

It is the first of a series of tactical satellites that DOD plans to launch over the next several years.

Cebrowski said the experiment 'seeks to blaze a new concept and developmental path for tactical micro-satellite exploration.'

The tactical satellite will support:

  • Machine-to-machine collaboration between air and space units


  • Dissemination of data through DOD's Secret IP Router Network


  • Capability to identify and capture information from items on the battlefield emitting measurable electronic signals.


  • Thermal imaging technology via an onboard infrared camera.


  • The Navy and Air Force will lead the test. The Navy Research Lab is building the satellite. The Air Force's Space and Missile Center is overseeing the booster, and its 30th Space Wing will provide the launch facility and services.

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