RISAT/CARTOSAT : India's Intelligence Satellites in Orbit

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by pyromaniac, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    NEW DELHI (AFP) — India has bought a spy satellite from Israel with day-and-night viewing capability to boost surveillance capabilities in the aftermath of the Mumbai militant attacks, a report said Friday.

    The satellite, which can see through clouds and carry out day-and-night all-weather imaging, has been one of the long-standing demands of the Indian military, the NDTV news channel said.

    The 300 kilogram (650 pound) RISAT 2 will be launched by India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket in the next few weeks, the report said.

    Indian scientists were in the process of integrating the satellite and the rocket at the Sriharikota space port in southern India, it said.

    The acquisition was fast-tracked after the November 26-29 Mumbai siege in which 10 gunmen went on a shooting spree.

    India says the attackers came by boat from the Pakistani port city of Karachi to Mumbai, based on its investigations and the confession of the lone gunman captured alive after the 60-hour siege, in which 165 people were killed.

    India's existing satellites get blinded at night and in the monsoon season.

    NDTV said the new acquisition would also provide New Delhi with the capability to track incoming hostile ballistic missiles.

    India treated Israel like a pariah for decades, but has forged close military links with Tel Aviv in recent years with the Jewish state replacing France in 2007 as its second-largest arms supplier after Russia.

    Copyright © 2009 AFP.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5idW2slJDwIR3qWvLl1U63vW7erRw
     
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  3. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    India turns to Israel to avert Mumbai replay?

    India has purchased a high-precision reconnaissance satellite from Israel to beef up intelligence acquisition after the Mumbai terror attacks.

    The radar-imaging satellite, which is now deployed in the Sriharikota spaceport in southern India, is to be launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in the first week of April, The Hindu reported on Thursday.

    The orbiter, named RISAT 2, surpasses the currently operational Indian satellites in its capability to acquire images in all weathers and throughout the day.

    New Delhi, which had already bought an Israeli satellite with comparable features, resolved on the purchase of a second one after last November's terror attacks on Mumbai. Ten militants, allegedly Pakistani nationals, attacked several sites across the financial hub during the calamitous incident.

    Frequent warnings of the recurrence of the raids were also said to have fast-tracked the move.

    New Delhi, which enjoys good defense cooperation with Israel, had also asked Tel Aviv to help launch retaliatory attacks inside Pakistan, Israeli website Debkafile said early last December.

    Israel reportedly welcomed the move to avenge the murder of six Jews in Mumbai's Chabad center in November.

    Israeli intelligence operatives' reputation for impeccable conduct of such missions had reportedly driven India to come up with such a request.


    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=89241&sectionid=351020402
     
  4. jayadev

    jayadev Founding Member

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    India Set To Launch Remote Sensing Satellite Next Month
    Mon, 23 Mar '09
    Country's First Student-Made Satellite Will Piggyback Into Orbit
    The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced Friday the planned launch of RISAT-2 next month, a new remote-sensing satellite to be placed in sun-synchronous orbit. Accompanying RISAT-2 will be Anusat, India's first student-made satellite.
    All Headline News reports the launch is scheduled from Sriharikota on either April 5 or 6, using ISRO's four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
    RISAT-2 was developed as an all-weather reconnaissance satellite. A significant contribution to the project by Israel is its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which is the heart of the 1,780 kilogram (almost 4,000 pound) remote-sensing satellite.
    India facilitated the launch of Israel's TecSAR last year, which was also equipped with SAR, providing reconnaissance capabilities with a resolution of about 10 centimeters. ISRO spokesman S. Satish denied reports that RISAT-2 will be used for spying purposes, telling CNN, "As far as ISRO is concerned, this (spying) is not one of the applications."
    Sharing the ride into orbit will be Anusat, a micro-satellite developed and constructed by 37 aerospace engineering students and 10 of their instructors at the Madras Institute of Technology. Anusat will then separate from RISAT-2 and establish itself in its own designated orbit.
    Madras Institute of Technology spokesman R Dhanraj told Times of India that Anusat will operate in a low earth orbit at an altitude between 600 and 800 km (about 370 to 500 miles). Equipped with a "store and forward" payload, data will be received at both Chennai Tech University and Pune University, providing students with hands-on experience in space sciences and technology, he said.
    "This is the first time we are launching a satellite made by students, and the idea is to motivate the younger generation to work for India's space missions," Satish said.
    http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=5a973bcc-466e-4f0e-94c1-3c4ec20f0fed
     
  5. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    ISRO's RISAT likely an Israeli TecSAR

    The RISAT radar imaging satellite that ISRO is set to launch in the first week of April is most likely an off-the-shelf Israeli TecSAR satellite acquired purely for military purposes.

    ISRO has been understandably tight lipped about the purpose or details of the satellite.


    The RISAT radar imaging satellite that ISRO is set to launch in the first week of April is most likely an off-the-shelf Israeli TecSAR satellite acquired purely for military purposes. Photo Credit: ELTA Systems Ltd.
    On January 21, 2008, India launched a TecSAR satellite with a X-Band synthetic aperture radar for Israel atop the PSLV-C10, a core alone version of the PSLV (PSLV-CA).

    At 300 kg RISAT weighs exactly the same as TecSAR, probably because it is a TecSAR.

    It will be launched along with a 38 kg mini communication satellite, Anusat, built by Anna University, Chennai atop a PSLV-C12, also a core alone version of the launcher.

    "RISAT is likely to be launched in the first half of April. We are looking at April five or six," an ISRO official told PTI.


    Illustration of the TecSAR spacecraft. Photo Credit: IAI Systems Ltd.
    ISRO has been independently developing its own Radar Imaging Satellite but the project is over 2 years behind schedule.

    The ISRO built RISAT reportedly weighs 1,780-kg and features a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) operating with a 6 x 2 meter planar active array antenna.

    The ISRO RISAT is expected to be ready for launch later this year.


    The Mini class, low earth orbit TecSAR, is offered as an off-the-shelf product by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and ranks among the world's most advanced space systems.

    Its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) uses a large dish-like antenna to transmit and receive radar signals that can penetrate darkness and thick clouds providing images with 1m resolution.

    The Multi mode SAR is capable of high resolution imaging of Spot (1m), Strip (3m), Mosaic(1.8m) and Wide coverage (8m).

    The highly agile bus design in combination with the body-pointing parabolic antenna dish system permits greatly increased viewing capabilities from the spacecraft. The spacecraft/antenna system may be dynamically redirected into any direction of the flight path (i.e. in the cross-track as well as in the along-track direction). Thus, a wide FOR (Field of Regard) within the incidence-angle range may be obtained on either side of the ground track for event monitoring coverage.

    Strip mode: the synthetic apertures are targeted on wide geographical swaths. The spacecraft performs synchronous imaging and does not change its orientation during observations except for some small maneuver due to the need to keep the imaging strip parallel to the ground track. Squinted strip imaging is possible.


    The coverage of large strips is achieved by electronic beam steering. Three beams are used in the nominal wide coverage mode which create three footprints (subswaths) in the target area. The ground resolution in this mode is decreasing since the integration time is split up among the subswaths. The swath width can be increased by using more antenna beams. In principle the swath width may get to more than 100 km for some incidence angles. However, this reduces the ground resolution to about 20 m.

    Spotlight mode: This focuses on a specific, pre-assigned target. In spotlight, the spacecraft performs mechanical steering to halt the antenna footprint in a specific target area. The longer integration time over the spot target area yields an improved azimuth resolution. The range resolution is achieved in adjusting the bandwidth to the incidence angle. The TecSAR ability for spotlight imaging in squint allows for multi-look imaging without any loss in resolution. To obtain a multi-look image of a given target area, a number of spotlight images are being observed, each at a different squint angle.



    Mosaic mode: The radar imager slews its focus on a number of spots in the same general target area. The mosaic mode enables to extend the limited coverage of the spot mode by using the electronic steering capability of XSAR. In mosaic mode the radar beam scans in the range direction while the mechanical maneuvering advances the strip line in the azimuth direction. Hence, this mode may also be interpreted as the spot version of ScanSAR.


    http://kuku.sawf.org/Articles/57295.aspx
     
  6. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    ISRO has asserted that RISAT is not a product of Israel but it is an Indian satellite.Since LF had already posted about this on this forum , I am not going to post the same except the link for the thread:

    http://www.defenceforum.in/forum/showthread.php?p=7443#post7443

    How can be a website is so sure, by only the criteria for the weight!
     
  7. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    On whether Israel has contributed to the satellite, Nair said "no. That many countries contribute, not only Israel. It's our satellite".

    Asked if Israel supplied Synthetic Aperture Radar for the satellite, he said "those finer details...We will talk when we make the launch"




    we need to stress on these 2 points firstly he acknowledges foreign participation.

    secondly he ducked the question about the radar shows that there is very heavy involvement of israel in the said satellite as my previous post suggested many similarities which cannot be ruled out as mere co-incidence,

    its more appropriate to say its an indian satellite developed with serious help from israel.
    its just my opinion reading the articles.
     
  8. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    More clear picture will come out after the launch I think , Invincible, as I am not oppose to involvement of any foreign country, I simply oppose calling it TecSAR.
     
  9. EnlightenedMonk

    EnlightenedMonk Member of The Month JULY 2009 Senior Member

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    They're surely using something known as "Politician's Logic" or "Dumb Analyst's Logic" in this case....

    Cats have 4 legs....
    My Dog has 4 legs...
    Therefore, my dog is a cat !!! :blum3::blum3::blum3:
     
  10. ZOOM

    ZOOM Founding Member

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    Earlier submission of Isreali satellite launch and subsequent admission of its ownership belongs to India as far as make is concerned, there seems to be some Political implication has taken a front role in this entire episode. Since CPM is craying hoarse about ISRO decision to launch Isreal satellite, as Isreali according to them are mass murderers of Palestines. Even Congress would wanted to please muslims and hence such a confusion.
     
  11. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    BANGALORE: India will launch a spy satellite from Sriharikota spaceport on April 20 primarily to keep an eye on its borders round-the-clock and

    help the government in anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations.

    The 300-kg radar-imaging satellite has been built by Israel and is set to blast-off on board India's home-grown rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

    This remote-sensing advanced imaging satellite, to be positioned 550 km above the earth, has all-weather capabilities.

    It carries Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload, which can take images during day, night and all weather conditions including under cloud cover, a capability that Indian satellites do not have.

    Given the sensitiveness of the venture, the Indian Space Research Organisation is tight-lipped over the mission, not giving out many details.

    A senior ISRO official, who spoke to PTI on condition of anonymity, said that the significance of the satellite is its all-weather capability.

    "It will be primarily used for defence and surveillance. The satellite also has good application in the area of disaster management and in managing cyclones, floods and agriculture-related activities," he said.

    Bangalore-headquartered ISRO launched Tecsar surveillance satellite of Israel Aerospace Industries from Sriharikota in January last year.

    "When we launched the Israeli (Tecsar) satellite, we found that it's a good satellite. Then we asked them to build one for us. It can penetrate through the clouds and take pictures even at night," the official said.

    Anusat, built by Chennai-based Anna University, would be the co-passenger on board PSLV-C12, which is expected to take off between 6 am and 6.30 am on April 20, officials tracking the preparations said.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...satellite-on-April-20/articleshow/4374544.cms


    guys all speculation should end about the origin just got the official confirmation from the goverment official, its actually built by israel and the original news piece seems to have made the right guess.
     
  12. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    We need more such satellites in sky, but next it should be an indigenous one. We have to always keep an eye on China and Pakistan.
     
  13. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Since I am cleared by respected InViNCiBlE about the origin through his post, I'm hereby withdrawing my previous arguments and also at the same time here follows a report from domain-B which tells us the specifically the source of the satellite.

    The link and the report from domain-B as follows:

    http://www.domain-b.com/aero/space/satellites/20090408_iai-built_spy_satellite.html

    India to launch IAI-built spy satellite on 20 April news
    08 April 2009

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    Bangalore: India will launch a spy satellite from Sriharikota spaceport on 20 April in an attempt to secure its borders round-the-clock. The satellite is also expected to help the government in anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations.

    According to reports, the 300-kg radar-imaging satellite, equipped with the latest Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology, has been built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and will go into space as a payload on board the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C12 (PSLV).

    This remote-sensing advanced imaging satellite, to be positioned 550 km above the earth, has all-weather capabilities and can peer through fog and cloud cover. This is thanks to its SAR payload, which allows the satellite to take images in day, night and all weather conditions.

    This will be the first time that India will be deploying SAR technology. Its own series of remote sensing satellites do not have such capability. Reportedly, ISRO is developing its own version of such a satellite, which will be at least four times the size of this Israeli supplied one.

    ISRO's attempt to develop its own SAR technology is yet to fully mature. It is expected t hat a 1200-kg Indian version of the Israeli SAR satellite will go aloft some time later in the year.

    As for the current launch, the sensitive nature of the venture ensures that few details are available.

    Unnamed senior ISRO officials have been quoted as saying that the satellite would be ''…primarily used for defence and surveillance. The satellite also has good application in the area of disaster management and in managing cyclones, floods and agriculture-related activities."

    In a controversial move ISRO had launched the Israeli TecSAR surveillance satellite from Sriharikota in January last year. The launch had drawn a good deal of protest from countries such as Iran, as well as some domestic political opposition.

    Impressed by TecSAR's day-and-night, all- weather capabilities, ISRO apparently asked the Israeli's to supply them with a similar model.

    The PSLV-C12 will also carry the Anusat, a small satellite built by Chennai-based Anna University. The launch is expected to take place sometime between 6 am and 6.30 am on 20 April, officials said.
     
  14. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    I have question, will it give live pics ??? that is most impoartant and what will be its orbit from earth...... sinice it has low orbit, does it got anti ASAT tech ??? since this type of satellite will be primary target of China and in future Pakistan.

    I think that ISRO should make satellite with thermal imaging camera with live feeds and one which can detect missile and rocket launches, that is need for future.

    given the present level of tech it is possible. BTW a miniture LRTR on satellite might be to much to ask at present.
     
  15. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    ISRO confirms RISAT 2 is an Israeli TecSAR

    kuku.sawf.org
     
  16. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    India's spy satellite to eye terrorists, infiltrators

    Press Trust of India
     
  17. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    In the link Kuku i found the you tube video of IAI for their satellite and what is the actual area of interest of Israel is this.

    we can have similar circle around our area of interest.
     
  18. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Sayare, it is also in my opinion a live feed option using Thermal imaging camera is highly needed now.
     
  19. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    I may also add that we need satellite that has Geo stationary orbit, therefore it can give live feeds from the region of our interest, Satellite in low earth orbit which moves, dont provide live feeds for extended period of time, they can provide feed only when they are over the that part of earth, I strongly think that ISRO should get inspiration to make such type of satellite which penetrate clouds, which can provide thermal image and day and night live feeds.

    RAW will empty its treasure if it gets such type of satellite.
     
  20. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/...saster+m&SectionName=UOaHCPTTmuP3XGzZRCAUTQ==

    ‘RISAT to redefine disaster management’

    Express News Service
    First Published : 17 Apr 2009 04:03:00 AM IST
    Last Updated : 17 Apr 2009 01:22:29 PM IST

    BANGALORE: Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT), to be launched on Monday by PSLV from Sriharikota, would not add any extra feature to the already available remote sensing system, when it comes to tracking human movements for border security, said ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair on Thursday. He was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the 54th Railway Week celebrations by the Bangalore Division of the South Western Railway.

    “Interpretation of data from this satellite is not easy as the data obtained are reflected and scattered, which make the process of reconstruction of an image very difficult. We will have to learn the process. Moreover, our primary intention behind launching RISAT is to have a better satellite system for disaster management. RISAT would make India self-dependent in the field of using satellite for disaster management, as it is capable of working in all weather conditions.

    RISAT, an Indian spacecraft, is capable of working in cloudy weather and at night, unlike the previous optical systems,”
    Nair said.
     
  21. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    India readies Israeli radar spysat to eye Pakistan

    India readies Israeli radar spysat to eye Pakistan

    BY CRAIG COVAULT
    SPACEFLIGHT NOW
    Posted: April 18, 2009

    India is poised to launch a $200 million military imaging radar reconnaissance satellite purchased secretly from Israel to locate hostile Pakistani or terrorist operations at night and during all weather conditions.

    The secret spacecraft was rushed to completion following the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai, Indian officials say.

    [​IMG]
    The Indian imaging radar reconnaissance satellite made by IAI is uprated version of this first TecSar spacecraft operated by Israel. Note composite ribs and gold mesh of a 15-foot-diameter antenna that provides 1-meter night/all weather imaging. Credit: ISRO

    The spacecraft's 15-foot diameter dish radar antenna will be able to see through the thickest clouds and rain, snow or fog conditions during night or day to provide the Indian Army with 1-meter resolution images. It can also "see" through camouflage like cloth or foliage used to conceal camps or vehicles.

    Officials at Lockheed Martin tell Spaceflight Now that the satellite will give India a radar reconnaissance imaging capability comparable to the imaging radars carried by the most modern versions of the high-flying U-2 spy plane operated by the U.S. Air Force.

    The 660-pound RISAT 2 spacecraft is to be launched April 20 on board an Indian Space Research Organization Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, fired from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at 6:45 a.m. local time, or 0115 GMT.

    The mission is part of an expanding Indian military space program driven by serious concerns over monitoring Pakistan and terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.

    The radar satellite will add to the more traditional visual imaging intelligence capability India already has. The country last year launched its first fairly high resolution reconnaissance satellite, but has operated medium and low resolution remote sensing spacecraft for years. Those spacecraft, however, can not see through clouds or at night.

    The new RISAT spacecraft is being placed in a 342-mile-high orbit, along with a small microsatellite to be used for imaging educational purposes.

    The new spacecraft was built by Israeli Aircraft Industries MBT Space subsidiary. The radar was developed by its Elta subsidiary.

    The satellite will monitor the hundreds of mountain valleys that connect India with Pakistan and terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan further north. It should also help keep track of ships at sea that could pose a threat.

    The satellite is an upgraded version of Israel's TecSAR synthetic aperture radar satellite. Space-based radars are especially good for monitoring rocky mountain valleys for infiltrating vehicles that show up well in radar imagery.

    The project also illustrates the growing military space ties between India and Israel, which can build highly capable spacecraft but lacks the kind of booster power India has to launch them. Within the last year, India launched the TecSAR radar satellite for Israel and is likely sharing its data downlink and change detection software capability.

    Indian Space Research Organization officials said the new satellite was rushed to completion "on a war footing" in the wake the terrorist attack in Mumbai.

    The imaging radar can provide spot, mosaic and strip imaging modes. But its spot mode can focus high-powered radar beams on a small area to build a high resolution picture of what is there. These modes will provide a multitude of different radar "aspect angles" -- views from electronically different directions-- from which to illuminate targets on the ground.

    While the Indian RISAT 2 mission is readied, the U.S. is also preparing for the launch of two new military satellites on May 5.

    One will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket.

    But a much different highly advanced imaging intelligence satellite is to be fired into space on the same day from the new Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Va. Depending on the launch time and weather conditions, that rocket launch could be easily visible to people in Washington, D.C.

    The Indian radar satellite and the U.S. missions set for May 5 are at the vanguard of major new U.S. and international military space developments.

    The programs over the long term span multi-billion dollar replacements just approved by the Obama administration for the extremely high resolution Advanced KH-11 class of electro-optical satellites favored by the intelligence community. President Obama also approved the procurement of additional smaller, more operationally responsive spacecraft favored by the military services.

    The White House has also just approved the continued procurement of more commercially-based programs like those operated by the DigitalGlobe and GeoEye companies.

    Unique imaging programs to improve space situational awareness are also underway.

    The most intriguing of these is the highly secret twin Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency "Mitex" satellites currently prowling geosynchronous orbit at nearly 25,000 miles altitude. The Mitex satellites can secretly sneak up and image spacecraft, like those from China, that are otherwise so far away they are essentially invisible and difficult to characterize.

    Earlier this year the Mitex satellites traveled from opposite sides of the planet to rendezvous with and inspect a crippled U.S. missile warning spacecraft.

    Some Chinese and other international space officials are highly critical of the new Mitex capability because if a U.S. satellite can sneak up to take a picture, it could possibly also disable the other satellite without leaving evidence that it had been done by a U.S. satellite.

    The May 5 Vandenberg mission will involve the first of three new low altitude military surveillance satellites planned for launch this summer. Two others will be launched piggyback in late July on a single Delta 2 fired from Cape Canaveral

    The combined cost of all three new, largely-similar satellites is several hundred million dollars.

    The initial mission May 5 will carry the Northrop Grumman Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) spacecraft for the Missile Defense Agency.

    The flight will more specifically will be part of the STSS program's Advanced Technology Risk Reduction (STSS-ATRR) research and development flight mission for the agency.

    The mission was previously called the Block 2010 Spacecraft Risk Reduction satellite. NASA will oversee the Delta 2 launch for the Defense Department.

    This first satellite will be placed in a relatively low altitude, but high inclination orbit relative to the equator. The Pentagon has not announced the specific orbital parameters to be used.

    The payload is part of the original "SBIRS Low" infrared sensor development program for the tracking of ballistic missile launches midway through flight.

    "The STSS Space Tracking and Surveillance test program is designed to provide space-based sensor components for the Ballistic Missile Defense System," the Missile Defense Agency says. The STSS satellites will use special sensors "to detect visible and infrared light for a persistent, global detection, tracking and fire control capability," the agency says

    The satellite will use a wide-view acquisition sensor, a narrow-view tracking sensor, and a signal and data processor subsystem to detect and track ballistic missile launches, the agency said.

    The following two SSTS spacecraft are on course for a July 29 Cape Canaveral launch into more of a mid-latitude orbit.

    Another major military space mission set for launch May 5 is being prepared at the commercial Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport where final integration is underway on the $80 million Air Force Research Laboratory TacSat 3 hyperspectral imaging satellite.

    Raytheon is the primary contractor for the "ARTEMIS" Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer at the core of TacSat 3 while ATK built the spacecraft structure.

    Hyperspectral imaging is every bit as exotic as it sounds.

    Systems like the ARTEMIS scanner on TacSat 3 can break wavelengths of light down into hundreds of bands revealing remarkable details about the target being imaged.


    Raytheon hyperspectral imaging system combined with an ATK bus make up the $80 million TacSat 3 spacecraft. Credit: U.S. Air Force

    The 880-pound TacSat 3 will be launched on board a solid propellant Orbital Sciences Minotaur rocket using Minuteman ICBM and other rocket stages.

    It will be the third Minotaur military space mission launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, which although a key new military satellite launch site, has received relatively little notice in the area close to the national capital region.

    At 65 feet tall with 210,000 pounds of brilliant orange thrust, the Minotaur rockets are easily large enough to be seen from Washington, D.C., roaring into space during night launches at the spaceport.

    TacSat 3 is to increase the speed and resolution of imagery that can be tasked directly by U.S. battlefield commanders.

    Instead of waiting on the Air Force or Central Intelligence Agency to call for a picture of a specific area, TacSat 3 is to demonstrate how a small $80 million 21st century satellite can be tasked by a tech-savvy soldier or Marine to quickly obtain a picture that used to require possibly several days to obtain by a $1 billion-class asset like the advanced KH-11 or Lacrosse space-based radar craft.

    Initiated four years ago in response to military requirements for responsive, flexible and affordable spacecraft, TacSat 3 consists of three unique payloads: the Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer hyperspectral imager, the Office of Naval Research's Satellite Communications Package and the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Avionics Experiment.

    Designated as the small satellite's main demonstration, the ARTEMIS payload will provide, within 10 minutes of its collection, target detection and identification information, as well as battlefield preparation and combat assessment data.

    "Capabilities of the ARTEMIS sensor are that it can identify characteristics by seeing through camouflage and foliage. It can also recognize physical characteristics such as oil and paint," said Thom Davis, TacSat 3 program manager. "It will also demonstrate its ability to provide real-time information to the warfighter via a text message or on a laptop computer. With the data supplied by the spacecraft, the commander in the theater of interest can determine if the object is something to be concerned about or a decoy."

    In addition, the heart and soul of the spacecraft, a first-generation modular bus, will be evaluated for its operational adaptability for future TacSat flights.

    TacSat 3 involves a partnership between the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Air Force Space Command, the Department of Defense's Operationally Responsive Space office at Kirtland Air Force Base, the Office of Naval Research, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and AFRL's Sensors Directorate.

    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0904/17milsat/
     

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