COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Air Pressure Exploration Laboratory and L3Harris will commence integrated screening this summer months of an experimental satellite with implications for a future hybrid precision, navigation and timing architecture.
Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) is currently being built to showcase new PNT technological know-how that could condition foreseeable future updates to GPS satellites and notify a achievable new acquisition plan to augment today’s constellation. Once on orbit in late 2023, the satellite will conduct a lot more than 100 experiments screening various know-how, like a electronic sign generator that can be reprogrammed on-orbit to broadcast new signals. The Air Force awarded L3Harris an $84 million agreement in 2018 to acquire the NTS-3 satellite.
AFRL has specified NTS-3 as a Vanguard system, which usually means it’s a high-priority hard work due to the possible impact of the technologies getting designed.
Speaking through a media briefing at the Space Symposium, AFRL Commander Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle said this summer’s integration exercise will include participating in the Army’s PNT Evaluation Exercise (PNTAX), which is held annually to enable inform needs future requirements and validate concepts. That do the job, she said Thursday, will aid the program cut down danger and build mitigation selections just before subsequent year’s start.
Joanna Hinks, AFRL’s NTS-3 deputy application supervisor, reported the system is wrapping up integration of the payload with a Northrop Grumman-developed bus and famous that possibility-reduction efforts will operate in parallel to full technique testing, delivering “initial baseline data” that will get the satellite “ready for primetime.”
Although the recent constellation of GPS satellites procedure in medium-Earth orbit, the NTS-3 satellite is destined for geosynchronous orbit. The conclusion to send out NTS-3 to a diverse orbit — which was truly a pivot from the initial strategy to fly the experiment in MEO — was built deliberately as a way to test a hybrid PNT architecture principle, Hinks said.
“The plan here is that we by now realize very nicely how satellite navigation performs in MEO,” Hinks reported. “So, what we can do with NTS-3 getting in GEO is glance at how can you use a constellation that is definitely a hybrid architecture.”
She extra that running the experiment in GEO does not mean a opportunity upcoming constellation of these satellites would only operate in that orbit. Alternatively, it permits the program to prove whether indicators coming from satellites in multiple orbits can give a complimentary and enhanced functionality for users on the ground.
That issue is key for Room Systems Command as it considers how to incorporate NTS-3 abilities into its current architecture. Cordell DeLaPena, SSC’s application government officer for PNT and army communications, told C4ISRNET just after the panel that the NTS-3 experiment will aid his crew make its scenario for transitioning the capability into a feasible new plan of document.
“That’s why we’re carrying out this prototyping and experimentation, is to use that to assist a likely spending plan final decision for a new software,” he mentioned, noting that the Space Pressure could have the facts it desires to feed into its spending budget submission shortly after the satellite launches up coming year.
“I feel the results are likely to be relatively rapid,” he explained. “And then it all is dependent on how the priorities participate in out in the service’s price range for that calendar year.”
The experiment will also feed into a Room Warfighting Analysis Heart architecture critique for next-generation PNT, which DeLaPena mentioned is funded for future calendar year.
SSC is also doing the job with Lockheed Martin, which is constructing the latest version of GPS satellites, GPS IIIF, to research selections for injecting new ability into those satellites, such as technological know-how demonstrated on NTS-3. The firm is currently on deal for the first 17 satellites, but DeLaPena told reporters new capabilities could be inserted on afterwards space motor vehicles as very long as it does not disrupt the program’s schedule.
The PEO is especially fascinated in a new clock assignment technology as a doable add-on capacity for long run GPS IIIF satellites, he stated. The assignment strategy would permit operators to draw from multiple clocks to get a more strong timing sign.
The NTS-3 experimentation will also contain ground method and receiver tools. All through the demonstration get the job done, the satellite will be operated by a ground process made by Parsons. DeLaPena reported that if the support opts to feed some NTS-3 systems into the GPS IIIF program, the process would likely integrate with the GPS IIIF Operational Management Phase, OCX IIIF.
The receivers utilized as component of NTS-3 will be application-defined, which would allow customers, for the duration of conflict, to change the qualities of a receiver’s waveform. AFLCMC’s Agile Beat Help program govt place of work manages PNT consumer gear for the Air Drive. PEO Lea Kirkwood said for the duration of Thursday’s panel claimed the near partnership her group has with AFRL signifies that at the time the technology is all set, “we’ll surely be transferring people wheels ahead to execute a system to get it to the war fighter.”
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s area and emerging technologies reporter. She earlier coated the U.S. Air Power and U.S. House Power for Inside of Protection.