Military Embedded Systems

Experimental satellite navigation program completes design review


August 05, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

L3Harris Technologies image.

MELBOURNE, Fla. L3Harris Technologies is on track to begin building the U.S. Air Force’s first Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) after completing the program’s critical design review. L3Harris will integrate the program’s experimental payload with an ESPAStar Platform, planned for launch in 2022. The system is designed to augment space-based position, navigation, and timing capabilities for warfighters.

The NTS-3 payload features a modular design and is designed to adapt to support various mission needs. The experiment aims to demonstrate capabilities that can be accomplished through a stand-alone satellite constellation or as a hosted payload.

The Space Enterprise Consortium selected L3Harris for the $84 million contract in 2018 as the prime system integrator to design, develop, integrate, and test NTS-3. L3Harris is combining experimental antennas, flexible and secure signals, increased automation, and use of commercial command-and-control assets.

Designated as one of the Air Force’s first vanguard programs, NTS-3 will aim to examine ways to improve the resiliency of the military’s positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities.

It is also intended to develop technologies relevant to the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation, with the opportunity for insertion of these technologies into the GPS IIIF program. The program is a collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Missile Systems Center, U.S.Space Force, and Air Force Lifecycle Management Center.


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