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Defense and Intelligence

Navigation Technology Satellite-3 Program in Final Testing Phase

Air Force navigation


Navigation Technology Satellite-3 Program in Final Testing Phase

Final tests are underway for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Navigation Technology Satellite-3, a $250 million program aimed at demonstrating new positioning, navigation and timing technologies that can weather jamming, spoofing and other forms of interference.

Frank Calvelli, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration, told lawmakers at an April 26 hearing that his organization is eyeing a fiscal year 2024 launch for the program, which he said encompasses the space, ground and user equipment segments. NTS-3’s Earth networks and receivers will also be tested after the satellite is sent into orbit.

The Air Force plans for the L3Harris Technologies-made spacecraft to operate for a year in near-geosynchronous orbit, where it will transmit navigation signals using a phased array antenna. Arlen Biersgreen, NTS-3’s program manager at the AFRL, noted that the satellite carries a reprogrammable PNT signal generator, enabling updates to keep pace with interference.

Parsons is building the NTS-3 ground system. According to Ed Baron, the company’s senior vice president of space mission solutions, compatibility testing with the satellite is scheduled to finish in the summer of 2023, SpaceNews reported Friday.

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