TacSat-3 Exceeds Expectations

One month into operations after its May 19 launch, Tactical Satellite-3 has been through early on-orbit checkout and should complete calibration procedures within a week. “The spacecraft has set superior benchmark for the remaining 11 months of the mission, and the project team is excited about demonstrating the capability of providing rapid and responsive products to the warfighter,” said Thomas Cooley, TacSat-3 program manager at Air Force Research Lab’s Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland AFB, N.M. TacSat-3 operators already have found that the small satellite’s solar panels produced 50 percent more power than anticipated. Within 48 hours of launch, they had verified the primary payload—the Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer, otherwise called ARTEMIS, had functionality, and its sensor delivered a high-resolution image via a high-bandwidth data link to ground operators. (Kirtland report by Michael Kleiman; also read this Space and Missile Systems Center report by Peggy Hodge on Operationally Responsive Space and the TacSat-3)