Low-cost nanosatellites, small launchers would assist ground troops

The Army is making steady progress on its plans to demonstrate the usefulness of nanosatellites and low-cost mobile launchers to provide direct support to deployed forces, reports Aviation Week.

The Defense Department is furnishing funds for three Army advanced-concept technology demonstration initiatives:

* Kestrel Eye, a 15-kg, 1-meter resolution electro-optical imaging nanosatellite.
* Snap, a beyond-line-of-sight communications satellite.
* Soldier-Warfighter Operationally Responsive Deployer for Space, which is a low-cost, mobile launcher capable of transporting a 25-kg payload 466 miles into orbit.

The Army's budget for space systems is a fraction of the Air Force's multibillion-dollar annual satellite and launcher procurement budget request; however, the Army's small demonstration project could spark a much-needed roles-and-missions discussion about which service is best suited to provide tactical spaceborne capabilities for soldiers overseas, the story said.


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