SMDC-ONE Technology Demonstration
April 26, 2009
<b>SMDC-ONE Technology Demonstration</b>
<b>What is it' </b>
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's SMDC-ONE technology demonstration will design and test nanosatellites weighing as little as four-kilograms. These nanosatellites can be placed into a low Earth orbit to receive data files from a ground command and control center. The ground station for the first SMDC-ONE demonstration will be at USASMDC/ARSTRAT on Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The primary objective will be to receive data from multiple ground transmitters and relay that data to a ground station. The intent of this technology demonstration is to build a number of identical satellites and deploy them together into low Earth orbit to simulate enhanced tactical communications capability and evaluate the nanosat performance.
<b>What has the Army done' </b>
On 28 April 2009, eight SMDC-ONE nanosatellites will be delivered to USASMDC/ARSTRAT after a one-year contract effort. The first SMDC-ONE nanosatellite will be placed into orbit in 2009 and the remaining seven at a later date.
<b>What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future' </b>
To better meet warfighter needs, USASMDC/ARSTRAT is considering mission enabling upgrade features for future nanosatellites to include on-board GPS capability for greater on-board autonomy, addition of an S-band communications link for increased data transmission, inclusion of a software defined radio for greater transceiver frequency flexibility, and modification of the communications element (radio) to increase available volume for payloads.
<b>Why is this important to the Army' </b>
To achieve enhanced capabilities for the warfighter from space, an approach that holds great promise is the deployment of constellations of nanosat-class satellites into low Earth orbit. Because the unit cost for a nanosat is lower (less than $1 million), large numbers for each specific mission could be built and deployed. What a nanosat may lack in performance and reliability when compared on a per-unit basis to a large traditional military satellite, it makes up by its low cost and potential for a persistent presence over given theaters of operations through constellation proliferation.
A nanosat constellation populated by inexpensive spacecraft could be useful in humanitarian support, stability and support operations and nation building. If a satellite ceases to function, it could be rapidly reconstituted. nanosats can provide coverage across specific regions, as well as globally. The use of nanosats in such a fashion will enable UAV-like performance for communication from spaceborne assets that can provide data directly into theaters of operation.
<a href="http://www.army.mil/smdc" target="_blank">USASMDC/ARSTRAT Web site</a>
<a href="http://www.smdc.army.mil/FactSheets/SMDC-One.pdf" target="_blank">SMDC-ONE Fact Sheet</a>