A Small Sat Has Big Mission

Scheduled for launch in summer 2007, the TacSat-3 satellite is a collaborative effort among the Air Force, Army, Navy, and DOD’s Office of Force Transformation that will bring together a multitude of missions in one package. The satellite is built for three distinct payloads—the “ARTEMIS hyperspectral imager, which will supply target detection data; the ocean data telemetry microsatellite link, which will collect sea buoy information; and the space avionics experiment, which will integrate payload and spacecraft structure components. Air Force Research Lab officials at the Space Vehicles Directorate, Kirtland AFB, N.M., say the program has hit all key milestones so far, but the next few months will be important in meeting the launch schedule. They plan, by early 2007, to move all payloads to AFRL’s space vehicles engineering facility for integration and testing.