The U.S. navy has successfully launched its TacSat4 satellite into space in a test to improve communication and safety for military troops in out-of-the-way battle zones.
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) sent out its ultra high frequency satellite from Alaska Tuesday headed towards a high orbit, approximately 12,050 kilometers from earth. It aims to provide communication for soldiers in rural or mountainous battlefields.
The satellite was launched from the state-owned Kodiak Launch Complex Inside a Minotaur IV rocket that had been used by the Air Force to deliver nuclear weapons.
The launch was in dedication to the memory of 30 troops killed in August an insurgent attack on a U.S military helicopter in eastern Afghanistan, Fox News reported.
TacSat-4 supports a critical war fighting requirement: communication, said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr. We've developed a technology that will supplement traditional satellites, giving military personnel on the ground another outlet for data transmission and facilitating 'comms on the move.'
One of the biggest obstacles for troops stationed in high latitudes is that they cannot access SATCOMs, a type of satellite used for military communition. Even areas that do pick up satellite signal are not always reliable due to the influx of too many radio frequencies merging together in one environment.
Troops are forced to point their radios antennas into a certain direction to pick up on the signal, which can be distracting and dangerous if they are in the middle of combat.
The new satellite's mission will allow the millitary to communicate better in rural regions with little infrastructure.
We've developed a technology more rapidly and at lower cost that will supplement traditional satellites, giving multiple combatant commanders around the globe another outlet for data transmission and communications on the move, said Larry Schuette, director of innovation at the Office of Naval Research.
TacSat-4 will mark the 100th launching of a Naval Research Laboratory built satellite into orbit. Project participants said they hope to broaden future options for launching smaller, highly elliptical orbit satellites, hoping that the military can reap more benefits in more destinations.