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SIGNALScape

Smaller Military Communication Satellites Offer Advantages

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Defense Department could benefit from building smaller but more numerous military communication satellites, said a director from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratories. Dr. Scott Sadler, head of communication systems and cyber security at the MIT labs, outlined several reasons why building a constellation of several medium-size satellites would be better than building few large orbiters. While large satellites would be more cost-effective in terms of on-orbit weight, medium-size satellites would cost less than their bigger counterparts, which would make the program less subject to budget-driven cancellation. Contracting for a number of medium-size satellites also would increase competition and reduce the cost of launch failure. Sadler pointed out that simply launching the equivalent in medium satellites would lead to quicker on-orbit access, but ultimately the constellation would deliver 33 percent less capability than a constellation of large satellites. However, if incremental advances are incorporated into the medium-size satellites throughout the program, then their final capability would match that of their larger brethren-and at less cost.

Lockheed Martin Provides Satellite On-Orbit Operations and Sustainment

November 1, 2010
By George Seffers

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Newtown, Pennsylvania, was awarded a contract modification valued at more than $10 million, which will provide on-orbit operations and sustainment for the PGS IIR satellites, for one year beginning Nov. 1, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2011. Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity.

L-3 Awarded Airborne Information Management System Contract

November 1, 2010
By George Seffers

L-3 Communication Integrated Systems, Greeneville, Texas, was awarded an estimated $24 million contract modification, which will provide airborne information management system Phase III installation. Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Receives Shipboard Electronics Contract

November 1, 2010
By George Seffers

Raytheon Company Integrated Defense Systems, San Diego, California, is being awarded a $7 million contract for the procurement of long-lead-time materials in support of LPD 26 integrated shipboard electronics. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

ATAC to Support Aircraft Electronic Warfare Training

November 1, 2010
By George Seffers

Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, Limited Liability Company, Newport News, Virginia, is being awarded a $45 million contract modification for services in support of the commercial air services program, which provides contractor-owned and operated Type III high subsonic and Type IV supersonic aircraft to Navy fleet customers for a wide variety of airborne threat simulation capabilities. This provides for training shipboard and aircraft squadron weapon systems operators and aircrew how to counter potential enemy electronic warfare and electronic attack operations in today's electronic combat environment. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Soldiers Take to Phones, Apps

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman

The military will need more communications capability, not less.

Lack of Money, Resources Guided Early Apple Innovations

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman

When it comes to computer design, sometimes, less is more.

"Think Human" to Design Technology Systems

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman

Put human ease of use ahead of showing what technology can do.

Wozniak: Run California Like Apple

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak suggested the state of California could benefit by operating like Apple and other high-technology companies. Citing the need for accountability and avoiding crippling debt, Wozniak said, "I wish California were run like Apple" and other similar companies. The state should adopt an approach of, "Here's the goal, here's the money, where's the return on investment?" he told the MILCOM 2010 plenary address audience.

Apple Co-Founder Credits Childhood Glimpse of the Future for Computer Insight

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, says that his father's work as an electrical engineer for Lockheed helped guide him into computing. Speaking at the plenary session opening MILCOM 2010 in San Jose, California, Wozniak related how his father would take him to technology shows to spur his interest in the field. Wozniak described how, in the late 1950s, one exhibitor showed him a diagram of some squares connected by lines. "This is a future chip," the exhibitor said, "that will hold six transistors on a single bit of silicon." Wozinak thought that he would be able to listen to a better transistor radio, but his father advised him that these "chips" would be hugely expensive and available only to the military. Ultimately, obsolete versions would trickle down to the consumer. Wozniak was embittered at that thought, but his curiousity was aroused. Now, he pointed out, it is the private sector--especially the computer and gaming industries--that are driving technology advances.

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