TacSat-3 Completes Demo, Becomes Operational Asset

The Tactical Satellite-3 will transition from an experimental demonstration to an operational asset on Saturday, the Air Force Research Lab has announced. On that day, Air Force Space Command will assume control of the satellite from AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate. TacSat-3 was launched in May 2009 and put through nearly 13 months of drills. One of the main goals was to see how well its primary payload, an imaging spectrometer called ARTEMIS, could be responsive to combatant commander taskings for overhead imagery. Thomas Cooley, AFRL’s TacSat-3 program manager, said all key objectives were met and the satellite provided “high-quality, information-rich data.” AFRL and its partners were able to transmit processed data to a ground station within 10 minutes of call up. TacSat-3 even supported earthquake relief efforts in Chile and Haiti earlier this year. (Kirtland release) (See also ARTEMIS maker Raytheon’s release.)