July 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

On-the-move communications go digital for 
troops in regular or disadvantaged locations. 

May 17, 2013
By George I. Seffers


Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory intend to launch two additional pathfinder nanosatellites later this year. The goal is to develop a constellation of inexpensive satellites to avoid collisions in space.

April 4, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman

Future conflicts likely will be fought in degraded information technology environments, which will require the U.S. Navy to develop and exploit new capabilities to continue to operate in contested cyberspace. Technologies such as a flexible information grid, assured timing services and directed energy weapons must be part of the naval information system arsenal if the sea service is to maintain information dominance through the year 2028.

February 15, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
NASA’s new TDRS-K communications satellite, built by Boeing, features new electronics and better power management to serve future space missions.

The TDRS constellation adds to its lifetime, but NASA planners already are looking at revolutionary technologies for the subsequent generation of orbiters.

February 11, 2013
By Max Cacas

Earthbound technologies and computer programming that make most popular video games possible are driving development of the remote-controlled robots now in use by NASA in the unmanned exploration of Mars and the solar system. Those improvements in both hardware and software also spur innovation in the next generation of robots envisioned for use by government and industry. That is important because NASA recently has proposed a new, multiyear program of sending robot explorers to Mars, culminating in the launch of another large scientific rover in the year 2020.

March 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine


The space shuttle Discovery blasts off in a rare night launch last year. With the end of the shuttle program this year, NASA is hoping to build a commercial capability for launching people into low earth orbit.

NASA is betting that industry can build a space transportation infrastructure.

March 2011
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine


NASA and General Motors have developed the next-generation dexterous humanoid robot. Called Robonaut2, the android was designed to use the same tools as humans so it can work safely next to humans on Earth and in space.

Draft road maps are first step toward outreach and transparency.

March 2011
By Adam Baddeley, SIGNAL Magazine


Israel’s TecSAR 1 satellite has been operating since 2008. TecSAR II is slated for launch in the near future.

A steady program is producing valuable results.

October 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Magazine


Lt. Gen. Larry D. James, USAF (l), commander, 14th Air Force, Air Force Space Command, and commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC–Space), receives a briefing from Lt. Col. Brent McArthur, USAF, commander, 3rd Space Operations Squadron (SOPS), during a tour of the 3rd SOPS at Schriever Air Force Base.

July 2006
By Maryann Lawlor

Greg Ellison (l) and Dale Stottlemeyer, spacecraft mechanical engineers, Space Vehicles Directorate, U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, work on Tactical Satellite 2 (TacSat-2). The micro satellite is scheduled for launch this year.
Small satellites could offer big benefits, so why the wait?

July 2005
By Henry S. Kenyon

The topographic data collected by the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) allows the U.S. government to generate altitude maps for 80 percent of the Earth’s surface.
Space-based radar topography allows development of advanced guidance, tracking software.

June 2005
By Robert K. Ackerman

A Boeing Delta IV, the U.S. Air Force’s newest heavy-lift launch vehicle, blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Once the realm of only a handful of nations, space access is opening up to many other nations, which promises to erode U.S. superiority in that arena.
America’s near-monopoly on intelligence and other satellite capabilities is coming to an end.

March 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

A portable computer can host realistic communications links without scarce and intrusive orbital connectivity.

A simulation tool that creates a virtual satellite allows ground personnel to rehearse satellite communications and operations disciplines without tying up valuable orbiters. The new system enables warfighters to train on, assess and certify orbital communications links without interrupting ongoing satellite operations.

December 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

Private sector financing may be the solution when it comes to replacing a longtime orbital communications constellation.

The United Kingdom is turning to the aerospace industry, the telecommunications sector and the banking community to establish a new web of military communications satellites based on commercial technologies. Under a novel acquisition approach, the Ministry of Defence is seeking a contractor that will be a service provider rather than a hardware deliverer.

February 2000
By Sharon Berry

High-speed, space-based system to link international populace with vessels and other planets.

Researchers are adapting voice over Internet protocol technology to establish communication between Earth and spacecraft, satellites, and, perhaps someday, other planets. Using modified commercial approaches, scientists will design space-based and mobile Internet standards that provide access to science mission data and interactive communication with inhabited and uninhabited spacecraft. These technologies also will become the connection to a future Mars-based communications infrastructure.

February 2005
By Maryann Lawlor

The U.S. Defense Department is working with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation to develop a family of less expensive, more reliable launch vehicles. 

Concept changes the face and pace of military space-based asset deployment.

February 2002
By Ramon Segura

Digital television technology enables asymmetrical network configurations.

The NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency is exploring the use of digital video broadcast technology in both satellite and terrestrial versions. The technology would support the organization’s requirement for a system that can distribute large volumes of information to strategic, deployed and mobile nodes simultaneously at very high transfer rates.

February 2003
By Robert K. Ackerman

Information-technology-capable personnel open up a new future for operations.

The newly independent U.S. Air Force Space Command is focusing on integrating exo-atmospheric operations with lower altitude activities, including ground campaigns. These operations in space, which range from communications to precision guiding of munitions, are becoming less of a separate warfighting aspect and more of a united element of high-technology network-centric warfare.

February 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

Maintaining assured access to space is at the heart of command restructuring efforts.

More than 10 years after the end of the Cold War, the U.S. Defense Department is shedding old constructs from that period that have been hindering the department’s new thrust into space. A major component of these changes places the primary responsibility for acquiring and launching military space systems in the hands of the U.S. Air Force. Within the service, new commands and offices also are being established to interface with homeland security efforts and joint organizations such as the U.S. Northern Command.

September 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

Orbital system offers flexible, secure data transmissions for ground, sea and air units.

The French military is enhancing its global communications capabilities with a new generation of dedicated satellites designed to simultaneously link several theaters of operation. The spacecraft features multiple antennas operating on different radio frequencies that can be aimed to provide highly focused, secure links to mobile and fixed groundstations.