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US Navy's TacSat-4 arrives at Alaska launch pad

TacSat-4's mission is to augment current SATCOM capabilities and to advance Operationally Responsive Space systems.

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA (BNS): The US Navy's new joint tactical communications satellite arrived at Alaska's Kodiak Launch Complex recently, and is currently undergoing final preparations for its scheduled spring liftoff.

The Tactical Microsatellite (TacSat)-4 is designed to augment traditional satellite communications, supplying 10 legacy ultra-high-frequency channels. It can provide two hours of coverage up to three times per day and support multiple theaters worldwide in a 24-hour period.

It is smaller in size, lower in cost and relatively quicker to launch than a traditional system.

"TacSat-4 enables 'comms on the move', which is a unique feature of this system- no other DoD satellite can do it currently," Fred Hellrich, an ONR senior scientist, was quoted as saying in a news report by the US Naval Air Systems Command.

TacSat-4 allows warfighters to use a regular handheld radio for communications on the move. TacSat-4 has also been developed to operate more economically than traditional satellites by using high-quality components designed to last at least six months to one year. It is also changing the cost to build systems and thus the number of launches per year.

Funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), this fourth-generation microsatellite is expected to be launched in May or June. The US Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office funded TacSat-4's launch aboard a Minotaur IV rocket built by Orbital Sciences.

The satellite will carry an ONR-sponsored and Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)-developed payload.

TacSat is one of the original four proposed efforts initiated by ONR's INP programme, which investigates cutting-edge technologies with the potential to irrecoverably change naval operations.


Navy  Satellite  

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