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.


 
 

 

Headlines April 23, 2014

News: U.S. conducts spy flights over Russia - After a tit-for-tat series of delays, the United States conducted an Open Skies Treaty intelligence flight over Russian territory April 21, a State Department official said.  Army paratroopers heading to Poland after Russian annexation of Crimea - U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland to begin a series of...
 
 

News Briefs April 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 22, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is one less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 

Northrop Grumman sets new greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 30 percent by 2020

Northrop Grumman announced April 22 its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2010 levels by 2020, as part of its commemoration of Earth Day.   “Northrop Grumman is dedicated to top performance in environmental sustainability,” said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president. “This new goal sets the bar significantly...
 

 

Lockheed Martin demonstrates enhanced ground control system, software for small UAV

Lockheed Martin’s Group 1 family of unmanned aircraft systems is migrating to enhanced automation capabilities using its Kestrelô “Fly Light” flight control systems and industry-leading mobile Ground Control Station software. The increased automation allows operators to focus on executing the mission, rather than flying various aircraft. Earlier this year, Lockheed MartinR...
 
 

U.S. Navy awards General Dynamics $33 million to operate, maintain military sealift ships

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics American Overseas Marine LLC a $32.7 million contract modification to operate and maintain seven large, medium-speed, roll-on / roll-off ships for the Military Sealift Command. AMSEA is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics. Under the terms of the modification, AMSEA will provide services including crewing, engineering, maintenance,...
 
 

US Navy deploys Standard Missile-3 Block IB for first time

In partnership with the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy deployed the second-generation Standard Missile-3 Block IB made by Raytheon for the first time, initiating the second phase of the Phased Adaptive Approach. “The SM-3 Block IB’s completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theater,” said Dr....
 




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>