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Air Force Selects Prime Contractor For NTS-3

on January 27, 2019 - 9:08am
KAFB News:
KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASEM The Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space and Missile Systems Center has selected Harris Corporation as the prime contractor to build Navigation Technology Satellite-3, the next-generation experimental Position, Navigation and Timing spacecraft.
The satellite, called NTS-3, is expected to launch in 2022.
As a unique testbed in geosynchronous orbit, NTS-3 will integrate several advanced technologies to demonstrate resiliency and new concepts of operation to include experimental antennas, flexible and secure signals, increased automation, and use of commercial ground assets.
Technologies matured and knowledge gained from NTS-3 are expected to transition to future generations of GPS and augmentation layers for national PNT capabilities.
“The National Defense Strategy tells us we must evolve our nation’s Position, Navigation, and Timing capabilities to be more resilient,” said AFRL Space Vehicles Director Col. Eric Felt.
“NTS-3 is all about resiliency, and I am incredibly excited about the resiliency experiments our SMC, AFRL, and Harris team will be able to conduct with NTS-3’s innovative and flexible hardware, software, and waveforms.”
In support of NTS-3, Harris plans to develop the Agile Waveform Platform, a digital signal generator that can be reprogrammed on-orbit, enabling operators to quickly develop and deploy new signals to meet rapidly-evolving needs on the battlefield. Additionally, Harris’ electronically-steerable phase array antenna will support simultaneous broadcast of multiple waveforms in both Earth-coverage and spot-beam configurations.
NTS-3 will use Northrop Grumman Innovation System’s ESPAStar bus, building on AFRL’s EAGLE spacecraft that launched in April 2018.
The Air Force Research Laboratory leads the discovery, development and integration of cutting-edge and affordable warfighting and consumer technologies.
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