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Program: DSCS

Defense Satellite Communication System, also called USGCSS

American geostationary satellite program owned by the Defense Communications Agency and operated by the US Army Space Command. Designed to provide military telecommunications.

Will be replaced by the WGS program.


Operator: US Army Space Command

Command and control:
50th Space Wing
300 O'Malley Ave, Suite 24, Falcon AFB, CO 80912-3024, USA

External resources



Technical data

First generation


Second generation

Second generation also named ES-4A

Satellites were launched by pairs to GEO

Third generation

Third generation also named ES-5A

Those satellites also carry an AFSATCOM package for the dissemination of Emergency Action Message and Single Integrated Operations Plan directives. It's purpose is to send orders to the nuclear capable forces.

Fleet composed of 14 satellites. USAF asked LM [in mid-1995] for a cost estimate on upgrades to the remaining ground-spare DSCS-3s to extend their lives somewhat: improved thrusters, better solar cells, more efficient amplifiers in the high-power channels. The DSCS-3 production line shut down several years ago, and the USAF wants to postpone the start of development on DSCS-4 to 2010. Meanwhile the WGS program should fill the gap.

The lifetime of the satellite is generally exceeded as the fuel saving procedures are efficient.

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