Session

Session X: The Smaller Elements

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Abstract

Our nation has a truly impressive array of space-based capabilities supporting our armed forces. However, much of this support is focused at the strategic and operational levels of war. There are several areas of desired improvement in the space force enhancement mission area at the tactical level of war that could be addressed by small, inexpensive satellites dedicated for use by tactical land warfighters. One of these areas of desired improvement is tactical beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications, including support for ground sensors, text message relay, voice communications, and image or video transmission. Technical solutions to fill these areas of desired improvement should be relatively inexpensive, and more importantly, taskable by tactical users in the area of operations.New trends in the miniaturization of electronic components are leading to smaller satellites with significant capabilities in the nanosatellite (1-10 kg) and microsat (10-100 kg) classes. For example, the CubeSat standard for nanosatellites now being built by universities around the world is based on tiny cube-shaped satellites with dimensions of only 10cm on a side and weighing about 1 kg. Slightly larger nanosatellite configurations, with multiple cube formats, allowing for missions from low earth orbit with broader scopes are under investigation by organizations such as NASA, Boeing, and the US Army.One technical approach that could address today’s tactical BLOS communications area of desired improvement for the tactical warfighter would be a constellation of nanosatellites in low earth orbit. To investigate the feasibility of such a constellation, the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) is executing the Space and Missile Defense Command – Operational Nanosatellite Effect, or SMDC-ONE, technology demonstration. The key SMDC-ONE demonstration thresholds for success involve designing, developing, building and qualification testing of two nanosatellite units, and acceptance testing of eight flight units within a one-year timeframe ending in April 2009 . A custom communications payload will deliver a capability to support simulated ground sensors and text message relay. Communications beyond this level of complexity were not included in this demonstration to reduce schedule risk. SMDC-ONE can help establish the case for inexpensive space force enhancement for the tactical warfighter through relatively inexpensive, rapidly developed nanosatellite constellations.

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Aug 12th, 4:15 PM

SMDC-ONE: An Army Nanosatellite Technology Demonstration

Our nation has a truly impressive array of space-based capabilities supporting our armed forces. However, much of this support is focused at the strategic and operational levels of war. There are several areas of desired improvement in the space force enhancement mission area at the tactical level of war that could be addressed by small, inexpensive satellites dedicated for use by tactical land warfighters. One of these areas of desired improvement is tactical beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications, including support for ground sensors, text message relay, voice communications, and image or video transmission. Technical solutions to fill these areas of desired improvement should be relatively inexpensive, and more importantly, taskable by tactical users in the area of operations.New trends in the miniaturization of electronic components are leading to smaller satellites with significant capabilities in the nanosatellite (1-10 kg) and microsat (10-100 kg) classes. For example, the CubeSat standard for nanosatellites now being built by universities around the world is based on tiny cube-shaped satellites with dimensions of only 10cm on a side and weighing about 1 kg. Slightly larger nanosatellite configurations, with multiple cube formats, allowing for missions from low earth orbit with broader scopes are under investigation by organizations such as NASA, Boeing, and the US Army.One technical approach that could address today’s tactical BLOS communications area of desired improvement for the tactical warfighter would be a constellation of nanosatellites in low earth orbit. To investigate the feasibility of such a constellation, the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) is executing the Space and Missile Defense Command – Operational Nanosatellite Effect, or SMDC-ONE, technology demonstration. The key SMDC-ONE demonstration thresholds for success involve designing, developing, building and qualification testing of two nanosatellite units, and acceptance testing of eight flight units within a one-year timeframe ending in April 2009 . A custom communications payload will deliver a capability to support simulated ground sensors and text message relay. Communications beyond this level of complexity were not included in this demonstration to reduce schedule risk. SMDC-ONE can help establish the case for inexpensive space force enhancement for the tactical warfighter through relatively inexpensive, rapidly developed nanosatellite constellations.