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Launch date established for Tactical Satellite-3

Posted 3/25/2009   Updated 3/25/2009 Email story   Print story


by Michael Kleiman
377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

3/25/2009 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Let the countdown begin. 

Lift off for Tactical Satellite-3 has been scheduled for May 5, 2009, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Wallops Island Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

The program recently encountered challenges with some of the spacecraft's components, but the required repairs have been made and the system has been given the green light for its year-long experimental mission.

"Our program team never gave up, and establishment of the launch date serves as a testimony to their dedication, determination and duty to making TacSat-3's mission a success," said Dr. Thomas Cooley, TacSat-3 program manager. "Obviously, the project has much to do in these next few weeks leading up to lift off, but we now have a firm end date to get on orbit and begin the fun experiment phase."

Led by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate here, the less than 880-pound satellite, originated in 2004 to address military needs for responsible, flexible, and affordable spacecraft operating in the cosmos, consists of three innovative experiments: the Raytheon Company-built Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer hyperspectral imager, the Office of Naval Research's Satellite Communications Package, and the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Avionics Experiment. 

The trio of trials will provide real-time imagery (within 10 minutes of collection); sea-based information transmitted from ocean buoys; and plug-and-play avionics to advance the technology of rapid spacecraft integration and help enable the responsive space vision.

Program participants include the AFRL's Sensors Directorate, Dept. of Defense's Operationally Responsive Space office, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center's Space Development and Test Wing, Army Space and Missile Defense Command, and the Office of Naval Research.

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