SIGNALScape

Smaller Military Communication Satellites Offer Advantages

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman
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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.

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.

Wozniak: Run California Like Apple

November 1, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman
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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.

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