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TOPIC: TacSat-3 satellite


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RE: TacSat-3 satellite
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Air Force officials here are delaying the launch of Tactical Satellite-3 until repairs to a spacecraft avionics component, critical to the system's operational capability, are complete.
Although scheduled to launch in late January, the program team is working with the manufacturer to resolve the problem.
The Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate here administers the satellite program, known as TacSat-3. When ready, the TacSat-3 launch will occur at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va.

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Alliant Techsystems  announced today that it has delivered the Department of Defence's Tactical Satellite 3 Spacecraft Bus (TacSat-3) to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for final integration and test. The TacSat-3 spacecraft is a pioneer of the emerging operationally responsive space (ORS) program, and designed to meet the needs of U.S. forces for flexible, affordable and responsive satellite systems. The TacSat-3 program is a joint effort of the Army Space and Missile Defence Command, Air Force Space Command, the Department of Defence's (DOD) Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate.

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As the National Reconnaissance Offices (NRO) Future Intelligence Architecture (FIA) continues on its ponderous and costly path, the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program is building and launching a set of small, relatively inexpensive, and technically innovative satellites that could change the way the military, if not the intelligence community, does business. TacSat-2 was recently launched with an experimental one meter resolution imager and a fairly basic signals intelligence payload. Amazingly, the Air Force was not allowed to turn on its instruments until they had been forced to jump through a set of legal hoops. Somebody is clearly afraid that the whole TacSat concept will do damage to their rice bowl.
The real test will be next year, after TacSat-3 is launched. This satellite is the first military use of a hyperspectral imager, the Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer (ARTEMIS). This type of imagery could, if properly used, lead to a revolution in intelligence comparable to the one accomplished by the codebreakers of World War 2.

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