TSAT Aces Laser Test

artemis_silex.jpgIf any current U.S. space program deserves the name "Transformational," its the Department of Defenses ambitious Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) program. The aim of the program is to provide real-time, high bandwidth connections between military assets ships, planes, drones, units, even individual ground vehicles anywhere in the world, providing a critical component of network-centric warfare.Unfortunately, "transformational" is a synonym for another word: risky. Estimates currently project that the program, when and if completed, will cost as much as $18 billion highlighting the program for close scrutiny from Congress.But for this week, team TSAT can celebrate a success. In a test conducted in conjunction with MIT, Boeing & Ball Aerospace demonstrated the inter-satellite laser link (Boeing) and pointing system (Ball Aerospace). This laser link will ultimately provide the 40 gigabits per second backbone that connects the planned 5 satellites together, which are slated to be launched in 2013.For more information, check out Defense Industry Dailys Special Report on TSAT.-- Ryan Caron, CDI

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