Defense

October 18, 2012

SkySat balloon, payload launch impresses Army officials

Capt. Joseph Mroszczyk, Training and Doctrine Command capability manager for space and global missile defense, prepares to release the SkySat balloon and payload from 2525 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, Colo., during demonstration of the system Oct. 11, 2012. Allen Kirkham with the Battle Lab looks on.

The crisp early morning of Oct. 11 saw a number of hot air balloons in the sky above Colorado Springs Airport.

However, one balloon had a particular mission and stood out from the rest.

The launch was brief to the casual observer, but was part of a demonstration of the Combat SkySat military retransmission platform for members of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

The event included a briefing by members of the command’s Future Warfare Center and Battle Lab to senior Space and Missile Defense Command, or SMDC, leadership on the Combat SkySat system, its capabilities, and how it can be applied to the Army mission.

Those in attendance included Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, commanding general; Ronald Chronister, deputy to the commander; Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin, deputy commanding general for operations; Laurence Burger, director of FWC; and other SMDC personnel in the Colorado Springs area.

After questions and a close examination of a sister system – the Combat SkySat Tethered system – on display inside a warehouse, the group moved outside to the back of 2525 Aviation Way. At 7:31 a.m., Capt. Joseph Mroszczyk, space and missile defense officer, from the Training and Doctrine Command capabilities manager for space and global missile defense, assisted in the release of the balloon carrying a communications payload and power supply.

According to Battle Lab officials, the balloon and its payload reached an altitude of 30,000 feet and was brought down after 30 minutes aloft (the system is designed to stay up for 12 hours.) The balloon and its package came down safely 62 miles east of Colorado Springs.

The Combat SkySat military retransmission system lifts off into the Colorado sky eventually reaching an altitude of 30,000 feet during a demonstration on the morning of Oct. 11, 2012, at 2525 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, Colo.

As part of the demonstration, a second balloon was launched earlier that morning from the Comanche National Grasslands in south central Colorado. Its purpose was to demonstrate the communications capability by providing a communications relay with the group observing the demonstration launch in Colorado Springs. Officials stated it reached an elevation of 80,000 feet in one hour and 20 minutes.

“From that altitude, we communicated from here with the launch team 150 miles away, using a standard PRC 148 hand-held radio with standard antenna,” said Mary Miller, chief, operations division, Battle Lab, and one of the action officers for this event.

SMDC leadership reaction was extremely positive, according to Miller.

“All parties were excited to see the launch and to witness firsthand the extended communications reach of this capability,” said Miller. “The power of a demonstration is that it makes the capability real, instead of a data point on a chart or a briefing slide.”

“This system solves the problems faced by troops on the ground where mission requirements place them in situations where distances exceed terrestrial line-of-sight and where satellite and airborne communications aren’t available,” explained Allen Kirkham from the Battle Lab, and one of the briefers on the Combat SkySat, to the group.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Smart-mortar will help Soldiers more effectively hit targets

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez Nick Baldwin and Evan Young, researchers with the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania, discuss the 120mm Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar ...
 
 

Air Force assigns new chief scientist

The Air Force announced the service’s new chief scientist to serve as a science and technology adviser to the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, May 21. Dr. Greg Zacharias will be the 35th chief scientist and is ready to “dive in” to his new role. “I...
 
 

TSgt promotion release delayed to allow system validation

Technical sergeant promotion selection results, originally scheduled for release May 28, will be delayed to enable the Air Force to continue to validate extensive system changes to the Weighted Airman Promotion System, officials announced. The 15E6 technical sergeant promotion cycle is the first to incorporate recent changes in the enlisted evaluation and promotion system. Recent...
 

 

Freedom completes rough water trials

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom completed Seakeeping and Structural Loads Trials, commonly referred to as Rough Water Trials in late March the Navy reported May 21. The U.S. Navy must demonstrate the seaworthiness and structural integrity of each new ship class. One of the primary ways the Navy verifies these qualities is through a...
 
 

Air Force releases Strategic Master Plan

The Air Force officially released the Strategic Master Plan May 21, which is the latest in a series of strategic documents designed to guide the organizing, training and equipping of the force over the coming decades. The SMP builds on the strategic imperatives and vectors described in the capstone document, America’s Air Force: A Call...
 
 

HYT extension possible for SrA-MSgt in 35 career fields

Eligible senior airmen, staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 35 Air Force specialties will be able to apply for a high year of tenure extension and, if approved, will be able to extend between 12 and 24 months past their current HYT. The Air Force is introducing several personnel and manpower initiatives to...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>