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Tacsat 3


Designation 35001 / 09028A
Launch date 19 May 2009
Country of origin United States
Mission military technology demonstrator
Perigee/Apogee 439/472 km
Inclination 40.5°
Period 93.6 min
Launch vehicle Minotaur #8

Launch initially planned in late-2007. Owned by the AFRL/VS. Declared operational on 12 Jun 2010.

The mission will demonstrate the ability of a tactical satellite to collect militarily useful data over a theatre of interest and provide that data direct to the war fighter in near real-time. It should prove valuable to detect hidden entrances or equipments.

The Operationally Responsive Space Modular Bus (ORSMB) programme will demonstrate modular spacecraft bus standards, interfaces, and processes to meet the goals of the Department of Defense's Operationally Responsive Space initiative for rapid, low-cost space assets.

End of life

Decay 30 Apr 2012

External resources


sat-index articles

Technical data


Prime contractor Swales Aerospace
Platform TacSat-3 Modular Bus (built by ATK Space Systems)
Mass at launch 400 kg
Dry mass  
Solar array  
Stabilization 3-axis
DC power  
Design lifetime  

This satellite is the first military use of a hyperspectral imager.

The Advanced Responsive Tactically-Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer, or ARTEMIS, will deliver processed information to the military within 10 minutes, following a single-pass collection opportunity on a specified target.

Developed by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, ARTEMIS consists of a trio of components: a telescope, a spectrometer and an onboard digital signal processor, provided by SEAKR Engineering and Space Computer Corp.
- The telescope is designed for imaging application performance and contains a secondary mirror with an incorporated focus device.
- The spectrometer, developed to match the telescope interfaces, employs a single focal plane array, which simplifies both the optical system and the processing of the data over previous designs with multiple focal plane arrays.
- The onboard digital signal processor, featuring 16 gigabyte storage and reprogrammable capability, processes the measured spectra into data products and transmits the image products via a common data link to the ground.

The Space Avionics Experiment (AFRL financed) will provide backup downlink capability for TacSat-3's main experiment and the ARTEMIS, and the Satellite Communications Package (NRO financed) will transmit sea-based and space-generated data to ground stations.

The communication package will collect data from ocean buoys and then TacSat-3's onboard processor will download the details to a ground station. In addition, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command will utilise it's ultra high frequency radio link known as the Army Tactical Data Link.

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