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28 février 2012 2 28 /02 /février /2012 13:10



In addition to its tactical mission, AEHF also will provide the critical survivable, protected, and endurable communications to the National Command Authority, including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict.


Feb 28, 2012 Spacewar.com (SPX)


Cape Canaveral AFS FL -  Lockheed Martin has has delivered the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where it will be readied for an April 2012 liftoff aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.


The AEHF system is the successor to the five-satellite Milstar constellation and will provide significantly improved global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters serving U.S. national security.


"Delivery of the second AEHF satellite is a significant milestone in the nation's protected communications mission," said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems.


"Our team is focused on achieving mission success and delivering this much needed capability to the warfighter."


One AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently on-orbit. Individual user data rates will be five times improved, providing transmission of tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.


In addition to its tactical mission, AEHF also will provide the critical survivable, protected, and endurable communications to the National Command Authority, including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict.


The AEHF team includes the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor, space and ground segments provider as well as system integrator, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.


Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide four AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. The program has begun advanced procurement of long-lead components for the fifth and sixth AEHF satellites.

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27 février 2012 1 27 /02 /février /2012 13:00



27 February 2012 - by the Shephard News Team


Lockheed Martin’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on 24 February 2012. The MUOS, the first to be built, will provide the US Navy with 'significantly improved assured communications'.


The MUOS constellation will replace the legacy Ultra High Frequency Follow-On (UFO) system and provide mobile warfighters with simultaneous voice, video and data communications. MUOS satellites feature a wideband code division multiple access payload that incorporates advanced technology to provide a 16-fold increase in transmission throughput over the current UFO satellite system.  A single MUOS satellite will provide four times the capacity of the entire legacy UFO constellation of 10 satellites.  The satellites also include a hosted legacy UHF payload that will be fully compatible with the current UFO system and legacy terminals.


According to Lockheed Martin, the first MUOS satellite and associated ground system will provide initial on-orbit capability this year with the four-satellite global constellation achieving full operational capability in 2015, extending UHF narrowband communications availability well past 2025.

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27 février 2012 1 27 /02 /février /2012 08:45



February 26, 2012. David Pugliese - Defence Watch


The director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency recently told a Senate committee the agency believes China is developing a space weapon program that can be used against satellites and that Russia is working on technologies to interfere with or disable U.S. satellites.


Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess presented the DIA’s worldwide threat report to the Senate Armed Services committee.


More from ExecutiveGov with the link to the story at the end:


Burgess said China is developing missiles and electronic jammers that are capable of damaging space assets.


Burgess said China recently tested a direct ascent anti-satellite weapon missile in 2007, destroying China’s own weather satellite.


DIA analysts indicated that it would take only about two dozen ASAT missile attacks from China to cause serious damage to U.S. military operations.


DIA found China spent $183 billion on military-related goods and services in 2011.


Burgess said China is “building a modern military capable of defending its self-proclaimed ‘core interests’ of protecting territorial integrity, sovereignty, and national unity.”


Burgess also reported that China will launch its Beidou GPS system this year for regional users and will be globally available by 2020.


This GPS system will enable China to be less reliant on the U.S.’ satellite navigation networks, currently the largest in the world.


Burgess reported that Russia is also developing space technologies that can interfere or even disable U.S. satellites used for navigation, communications and intelligence.


The article is HERE

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23 février 2012 4 23 /02 /février /2012 13:40


Head of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos V. Popovkin


MOSCOW, February 22 (RIA Novosti)


Russia is planning to launch at least 100 military satellites in the next 10 years to boost its reconnaissance and missile detection capabilities, head of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos Vladimir Popovkin said on Wednesday.


“The new 100 satellites will provide us with better quality intelligence, faster and more reliable communications,” Popovkin said in an interview with Vesti 24 television.


“This will also enable us to detect the launches and track not only ballistic, but also cruise missiles, theater and tactical missiles,” Popovkin said.


The expansion of the military satellite cluster will also boost global positioning and mapping capabilities of the Russian military, which is necessary to guide advanced high-precision weapons being developed in Russia.


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the deployment of high-precision weaponry will be part of Russia’s response to the U.S.-based European missile shield.


Moscow continues its staunch opposition to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

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14 février 2012 2 14 /02 /février /2012 13:45



SBIRS GEO-1 Satellite to Provide a Quantum Leap in Infrared Surveillance Capabilities


Feb 14, 2012 ASDNews Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation


The first Lockheed Martin -built Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) satellite is now delivering critical infrared data to users.  The spacecraft is currently undergoing its rigorous operational certification process.


Data from the U.S Air Force’s SBIRS GEO-1 satellite will enhance the military’s ability to detect missile launches around the globe, support the nation's ballistic missile defense system, greatly expand technical intelligence gathering capability, and bolster situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.


The spacecraft is the most technologically advanced military infrared satellite ever developed. The satellite includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that deliver improved infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the current constellation.  The scanning sensor provides a wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the earth, while the staring sensor can be used to observe smaller areas of interest with superior sensitivity.  The satellite’s sensors are now performing at better than specification levels, and producing and delivering pre-certified data to the user community.


“We are looking forward to fully certifying this spacecraft for operational use and delivering these new infrared surveillance capabilities to the nation,” said Col. Jim Planeaux, director of the U.S. Air Force’s Infrared Space Systems Directorate.


Following its May 7, 2011 launch, SBIRS GEO-1 successfully activated its sophisticated infrared sensors and transmitted its first infrared payload data on June 21, 2011. The satellite is now being repositioned to its final orbital location and completing all steps necessary for certification. The process includes an Air Force evaluation in the operational environment, and culminates with Air Force Space Command's operational acceptance and the United States Strategic Command's certification of the proven SBIRS GEO system.


“This satellite is delivering outstanding data to the user community and is performing exceptionally well as it proceeds through its rigorous certification process,” said Jeff Smith, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) mission area.  “The government and industry team is focused on executing a smooth certification process and delivering the full value of SBIRS to the warfighter.”

Leveraging lessons learned from GEO-1, the team is progressing efficiently on the path to launch for the second SBIRS geosynchronous (GEO-2) satellite. GEO-2 recently completed environmental testing and Lockheed Martin engineers will now perform final factory work on the satellite and execute a series of integrated spacecraft and system tests to ensure the vehicle is ready for flight.


Lockheed Martin's original SBIRS contract includes highly elliptical orbit (HEO) payloads, two geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The team is also under a follow-on production contract to deliver additional HEO payloads and the third and fourth GEO satellites, and associated ground modifications.


Production of GEO-3 and GEO-4 is progressing steadily and the joint government/industry team has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce the cost of each follow-on SBIRS satellite. Some cost reduction measures include reducing staffing levels to efficiently transition from development to production, studying common parts buys between similar space programs to achieve economic order quantities, and strengthening management processes with lower tier vendors.

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11 février 2012 6 11 /02 /février /2012 18:05



10/02/2012 Economie et technologie


Le Conseil franco-allemand de la défense et de la sécurité s’est déroulé le 6 février 2012 à Paris. A l’issue du Conseil, une déclaration commune aux ministres de la défense et des affaires étrangères allemands et français a été prononcée. Extraits.


Adossé au Conseil des ministres franco-allemand du 6 février 2012, s’est tenu, en format restreint, le Conseil franco-allemand de défense et de Sécurité. A l’issue du Conseil, une déclaration commune a porté sur plusieurs points, notamment  :

Une contribution active à la sécurité et la défense européenne


L’objectif d’une défense européenne plus forte a été réaffirmé. La France et l’Allemagne sont déterminées « à garantir, en matière de sécurité et de défense, une contribution déterminante de l’Europe à une Alliance atlantique forte et à améliorer la relation entre l’Otan et l'UE  ». Les deux pays sont également déterminés à poursuivre les « efforts pour améliorer l’efficacité de la PSDC (politique de sécurité et de défense commune), notamment aux plans institutionnel, capacitaire et opérationnel  ». A cet égard, des travaux sont en cours pour un engagement européen au Sahel ainsi que dans la Corne de l’Afrique (soutien à l’opération Atalante et à EUTM Somalia). La France et l’Allemagne affirment également leur volonté « de faire progresser les initiatives de l’AED (Agence européenne de défense) et de Gand, en matière de mutualisation et de partage de capacités  ».


Le renforcement du dialogue stratégique franco-allemand


Les deux nations ont l’intention « de renforcer notre coopération et notre contribution commune à la sécurité et à la défense européenne,  ainsi que de, réaliser des synergies capacitaires, des capacités futures et une base industrielle de défense commune  ». Par ailleurs, les échanges entre les deux parlements sur les questions de défense et de sécurité sont à encourager ainsi qu’un dialogue avec la société civile et les experts. L' Allemagne et la France souhaitent coopérer « plus étroitement avec la Russie sur la sécurité dans les zones euro-atlantique et eurasienne  ».


Une coopération plus étroite en matière capacitaire


L’Allemagne et la France entendent renforcer la mutualisation et le partage de capacités à l’instar « des travaux en cours pour achever la mise en place du Commandement européen du transport aérien ( AETC)  ». L’objectif commun est également d’intensifier les projets en matière de « formation, d’armement, de doctrines opérationnelles et d’interopérabilité, de parvenir à une meilleure convergence dans la définition des besoins militaires et opérationnels, à une harmonisation des procédures de certification des armes  ». Les deux pays sont également résolus à promouvoir « de potentiels champs de coopération relatifs aux activités spatiales (notamment l’observation de la terre dans le cadre du programme MUSIS) et de surveillance de l’espace » . Ces champs potentiels « pourraient également s’étendre aux hélicoptères, aux systèmes terrestres et aux activités dans le domaine de la défense antimissile  ».


Téléchargez la déclaration commune sur le site de la présidence de la République (pdf, 4 pages, 31ko)

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10 février 2012 5 10 /02 /février /2012 18:00


Le satellite Helios 1A - source Astrium


10/02/2012 Sources : EMA


Le premier satellite d’observation gouvernemental (militaire) de la France, Hélios 1A, réalisé en partenariat avec les défenses Italiennes et Espagnoles, arrête définitivement ses activités opérationnelles après 16 années de fonctionnement.


Lancé depuis KOUROU par une fusée Ariane 4 le 7 juillet 1995, ce satellite optique haute résolution a permis à la Défense française de bénéficier d’une large autonomie d’appréciation des crises pendant plus d’une décennie.


Durant les opérations menées en Afghanistan, et plus récemment encore, lors de l’intervention en Libye, ce satellite a été utilisé dans des domaines très larges et diversifiés comme le domaine du renseignement, la connaissance des zones d’opérations, ou encore l’acquisition de modèles numériques de terrain pour les systèmes d’armes et de préparation de mission.


Conformément aux engagements de la France en matière de gestion de l’environnement spatial, Hélios 1A a été repositionné en janvier sur une orbite plus basse. Les moyens de surveillance de l’espace, mis en œuvre par l’armée de l’air, continueront de suivre Hélios 1A jusqu'à sa rentrée dans l’atmosphère où il se désintègrera.


Cet arrêt définitif n’altère pas le maintien des capacités opérationnelles de la France. En effet, les missions effectuées par Hélios 1A ont été reprises par les satellites Hélios 2, de très haute résolution, qui offrent des capacités supérieures. Ce système d’observation militaire est complété par le premier satellite Pléiades lancé au mois de décembre 2011.

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9 février 2012 4 09 /02 /février /2012 13:10



Feb 09, 2012 Spacewar.com (RIA Novosti)


Moscow - Russia may spend 346.5 billion rubles (almost $12 bln) on its Glonass satellite navigation system in 2012-2020, the Kommersant daily said on Wednesday.


Glonass is Russia's answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses.


Government sources told Kommersant space agency Roscosmos and economics ministry had agreed on a draft development program for the Glonass project, and it had already been submitted for government's approval in late January.


The expenditures include 146.9 billion rubles ($5 billion) to support the system and 138.3 billion rubles ($4.6 billion) to develop it.


A group of 31 Glonass satellites is currently in orbit, with 24 operating to provide global coverage, four in reserve and one undergoing trials.


In 2020 Russia plans to have 30 satellites in orbit, including six in reserve.


To support the orbital grouping, Russia plans to launch 13 Glonass-M satellites in 2012-2020 and 22 new-generation Glonass-K spacecraft to replace the outdated spacecraft.


For the purpose Russia will build eight Proton-M and 11 Soyuz-2.1b carrier rockets.

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2 février 2012 4 02 /02 /février /2012 08:35


01/02/2012 par Renaud Honoré – LesEchos.fr

La PME allemande a une nouvelle fois remporté un appel d'offres de la Commission européenne pour la fabrication de huit satellites qui viendront compléter le futur système Galileo de « GPS » européen.

La Commission européenne doit annoncer demain jeudi qu'elle confie à OHB Technology la construction de huit satellites qui doivent compléter la constellation Galileo. De sources concordantes, la PME allemande a été une nouvelle fois préférée à Astrium, la branche spatiale du groupe EADS pour ce contrat estimé à environ 250 millions d'euros, confirmant ainsi une information du site Internet « La Tribune ».

C'est la deuxième fois que la société basée à Brême dame le pion au géant européen Astrium. En janvier 2010, elle avait déjà remporté un premier contrat portant sur la construction de 14 satellites destinés au système Galileo, pour un total de 560 millions d'euros. Ces appareils étaient la première base de ce qui doit devenir le système européen de radionavigation par satellite. Les deux premiers ont été lancés en octobre dernier de Kourou en Guyane par une fusée russe Soyouz, et deux autres le seront également d'ici à l'été prochain.

OHB moins cher

Il y 15 jours, lors d'un point presse, François Auque, le patron d'Astrium, ne cachait pas son pessimisme quant à ses chances d'emporter ce second round. « On nous demande d'être moins chers que la première offre, alors que notre concurrent pourra amortir ses coûts sur un plus grand nombre de satellite », expliquait-il. Lors du premier appel, Astrium avait présenté une offre de près de 20% plus chère que celle d'OHB selon des proches du dossier. L'espoir d'Astrium résidait dans le fait que la Commission européenne avait laissé entendre à plusieurs reprises qu'elle verrait d'un bon oeil le fait d'avoir deux fournisseurs pour les satellites Galileo, afin de ne pas mettre tous ses oeufs dans le même panier.

Las ! Visiblement, la proposition tarifaire d'OHB a encore une fois fait la différence. Un proche du dossier souligne d'ailleurs que c'est « la première fois qu'un satellite coûtera moins cher que le prix de la fusée pour le lancer vers l'espace ».

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2 février 2012 4 02 /02 /février /2012 08:20


USAF Concept

Feb 1, 2012 By Amy Butler aviation - week and space technology
With William N. Ostrove/ Forecast International/

With the U.S. leading the pack, militaries are being forced to balance increased demand for satellite services with austere budgets.

The majority of the 161 unclassified milsats forecast for production in the next decade will go into service in the near term with production tapering in the outyears. The primary aim of military planners is to boost capacity while stabilizing costs.

After a decade of multi-billion- dollar satellite cost overruns, the Pentagon finally began space-based testing on the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) and Space-Based Infrared System (Sbirs) satellites made by Lockheed Martin. The U.S. Air Force is using these programs as pathfinders for a new way of buying constellations, ordering in bulk in order to stabilize the industry. It remains to be seen, however, whether Congress will approve this approach.

Also uncertain is whether the next big development, Lockheed Martin’s work on the GPS III system, will survive major budget cuts anticipated by the Pentagon.

Military satcoms represent the largest potential opportunity for manufacturers. Despite growing concern about jamming, the military’s dependence on commercial satellites is expected to continue.

An emerging trend is the creation of military-commercial partnerships for hosted payloads. Under this arrangement, commercial operators host government payloads on their satellites. Hosted payloads are much cheaper than designing a new satellite and allow governments to reduce launch costs. Payloads can be controlled by the government while the commercial operator receives cash to defray satellite costs.

Although Russia, China and Israel are assuming a greater share of the military satellite market, Europe will remain second only to the U.S. in terms of sales.

The major players in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., are all pursuing their own national space programs, though with some shared activities. For example, France, Germany and Italy have data-sharing agreements in place for their reconnaissance satellites. Similar agreements could expand with the deployment of next-generation satellites.

However, bolstered by demand from the Pentagon, Boeing and Lockheed Martin will remain major players in this market, with Boeing benefiting from its contracts for GPS Block IIFs, the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) network and Tactical Data Relay satellites. Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, has contracts for GPS III as well as the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), AEHF and Sbirs birds. Other major global manufacturers of military satellites include Mitsubishi, EADS Astrium and Russia’s ISS Reshetnev.

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30 janvier 2012 1 30 /01 /janvier /2012 12:30


Fengyun-2 Meteorological Satellite

2012-01-30 (China Military News cited from the-diplomat.com and by Jenny Lin)

Since its inception in 1988, the Fengyun (FY) program has become an international symbol of China’s burgeoning ambitions in space. China’s weather satellite program began with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai’s 1970 approval of a Central Military Commission proposal to initiate research and development on weather satellites. With the launch of the first FY-1A in 1988, China became only the third nation to launch its own meteorological satellites. Since then, China has launched four FY-1 weather satellites into polar orbit, five FY-2 geosynchronous weather satellites, and two FY-3 satellites that were boosted into polar orbits on Long March-4 launch vehicles.

The FY series appear to be roughly analogous to those associated with the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. The FY-3, equipped with almost a dozen all weather sensors, is China’s most advanced space asset providing meteorological support to the People’s Liberation Army. The system also could provide measurement and signature intelligence data to China’s emerging anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) targeting architecture. In addition to five additional FY-3 satellites to be launched between now and 2020, the next generation geosynchronous weather satellite, the FY-4, is expected to enter service in 2014.As a dual use asset, FY-3 requirements appear to have been developed by both the PLA General Staff Department (GSD) and China Meteorological Bureau. Specific PLA users with significant interests in the program include the GSD Second Department and GSD Third Department. Presumably, the GSD Operations Department and Service-level weather bureaus are key PLA users.

The R&D and manufacturing supply chain has stretched across a range of bureaucracies. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) Shanghai Academy of Space Technology (SAST), also known as the Eighth Academy, is the lead systems integrator for the satellites, launch vehicle, and ground system R&D. Overall system designers were SAST’s Sun Jingliang [孙敬良] and Meng Zhizhong [孟执中]. Lead satellite sub-system designer was SAST’s Dong Yaohai [董瑶海]. The Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics appears to have been responsible for the hyperspectral infrared sensor.

GSD Third Department 57 Research Institute, supported by the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 39th Research Institute (Northwest Institute of Electronic Equipment), developed the ground based receiving antenna system for the FY-3. Ground stations responsible for managing FY-3 satellite data reception, transmission and processing are Urumqi, Guangzhou, and Jiamusi. Other entities supporting the program included SAST’s Shanghai Institute of Electronic and Communications Equipment (804th Research Institute), CASC Fifth Academy’s Beijing Institute of Satellite Information Engineering (503rd Research Institute), and the CMA’s Network Surveillance Division. Other key players included Yang Zhongdong [杨忠东] and Lu Naimon [卢乃锰], both from the National Meteorological Satellite Center. FY-3 satellite carries at least 11 on-board sensors. One study noted that the FY-3 includes a prototype package intended to support other sensors, such as over the horizon radar systems, to compensate for sea clutter when tracking aircraft carriers and other moving targets at sea. Greater resolution enables more precise targeting.

Fengyun satellites collect and provide strategic weather reconnaissance data for civilian and military purposes. An accurate assessment of current and future weather conditions, such as cloud cover, atmospheric moisture, winds, temperature, and ocean currents, is critical for a range of military operations. Weather satellites can measure electromagnetic conditions in the ionosphere that could affect over the horizon radar and communication systems. They can also provide militarily useful data associated with complex maritime environments and terrains, including observation of targets under camouflage or perhaps even underground. The interests of GSD Third Department, meanwhile, are unknown, although their role in the ground segment implies some linkage between the Fengyun program and signals intelligence.

Jenny Lin is a Researcher at Project 2049 Institute. The author would like to thank Mark Stokes for his input and suggestions.

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20 janvier 2012 5 20 /01 /janvier /2012 08:20


Lockheed Martin Concept

Jan 19, 2012 By Amy Butler - aviation week and space technology

Washington - Despite its programmatic progress and status as an acquisition reform program for the U.S. Air Force, GPS III—as with any other Pentagon project—is under the microscope and could be subject to funding cuts.

The budget environment at the Pentagon gives new meaning to the term “capture team,” which is used to describe the group assigned by a company to win a program. Many contractors say they feel they are in a perpetual “capture team” mode, constantly fighting not only to win programs, but to keep them once they have won the contract.

Despite cohesion in the Pentagon in May 2008 when Lockheed Martin beat Boeing for the $1.5 billion GPS III development contract, financial pressure on defense spending has prompted some to question the Air Force’s plan for modernizing the satellite constellation.

Late last year, defense officials said some budget drills had examined if the project could be scaled back in scope or delayed. One reason, say some GPS experts, is that the satellites in orbit are lasting longer than projected, possibly allowing for a delay to the 2014 launch date for the first GPS III satellite without jeopardizing service. A final budget plan will be unveiled by the Pentagon Feb. 6.

Others question the architectural approach for GPS III. U.S. Marine Corps Gen. (ret.) James Cartwright, until last year the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that while precision navigation and timing (PNT) is a critical mission for the military and global economy, pursuing a constellation of large, expensive satellites is overkill. He notes that with the emergence of the L1C signal, which is to be included on the GPS III design, U.S. data will be compatible with that of foreign satellites conducting the same mission. There is an opportunity for the U.S. to build fewer spacecraft and share the burden of responsibility with other countries, such as those in Europe that are pursuing the Galileo system, he says.

Further, Cartwright notes that the threat of high-power jammers drowning out GPS signals is expected to grow far sooner than the Air Force can field high-power spot beams capable of boosting the GPS signal in a small footprint; this capability was originally planned for a later increment of GPS III satellite. Cartwright says more focus should be put on crafting an integrated PNT architecture that does not solely rely on large satellites, which can be vulnerable to jamming or an anti-satellite attack. Such a concept would include aircraft payloads that can provide a localized capability if a satellite goes awry or boost signals in a region if operations require it.

Late last year, Boeing also proposed a way for the Pentagon to pull away from its GPS III commitment: It offered an unsolicited proposal to sell more GPS IIF satellites at the current prices. The company hoped to gain more profit from the program, which had not produced the revenue anticipated because of production issues and an early guarantee of a low price. Boeing has since withdrawn the offer, but there is pressure, nonetheless, on Lockheed to make good on its GPS III promises.

Despite its detractors, GPS III may have escaped a major reduction. Lockheed Martin, which won a $1.5 billion development contract (including the first two satellites) over Boeing nearly three years ago, last week was awarded a $238 million contract for satellites 3-4, a sign that support for the effort is still strong in the Pentagon. The company is meanwhile pushing hard to find ways to reduce the cost of fielding a constellation. Air Force Space Command chief Gen. William Shelton said last week that the Air Force has opted to take the unusual step of launching two GPS III satellites per booster “where it makes sense.”

Lockheed Martin and the United Launch Alliance had proposed “dual launch” for GPS III as a way to save money. In the past, Air Force officials have been reticent to put two critical payloads on one rocket for fear of a launch failure, but a flawless track record by the United Launch Alliance with its Atlas V and Delta IV families has boosted confidence.

The Air Force has looked at implementing the dual-launch concept with space vehicle (SV) 9, though Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s GPS III program director, says the company is postured to do it as soon as SV-5 around 2017. Col. Bernard Gruber, GPS program manger for the Air Force, notes that while fewer launch vehicles must be purchased, the service will have to invest to conduct dual command and control and ensure the launch facilities can process two payloads simultaneously.

Furthermore, in accordance with an Air Force request to reduce personnel costs, Lockheed has removed about 150 people from the program to lower expenses as it heads to a “production baseline” manning level, Jackson says.

The company is also trying save the Air Force hundreds of millions of dollars, Jackson says, by using as many common practices, processes and materials as possible for GPS III, which is based on the A2100 bus like the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) and Space-Based Infrared System (Sbirs) satellites the Air Force is also buying. Lockheed was criticized for bloated costs in the AEHF and Sbirs programs.

An up-front investment in a GPS III pathfinder satellite, an engineering and development unit that is being built using actual production processes and tooling but will not be used for operations, is also helping keep costs down, Jackson says. Using this unit, the company has identified “tens of millions of dollars in savings” for the production units to follow at the Denver assembly line. The pathfinder also helped the company identify a signal-timing issue and flight software changes that need to be made before building the first production unit. Eventually, Lockheed will ship the pathfinder to the Air Force to conduct a rehearsal for satellite processing prior to launch, a measure also designed to reduce risk.

Nearly all of the parts for the first production satellite have been delivered, and assembly in Denver will begin in the summer, with the first flight navigation panel expected in the fall. Launch is scheduled for May 2014.

Meanwhile, the Air Force and Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) are working out what capability improvements they should plan for future satellites. In 2008, the Air Force laid out a “back-to-basics” block upgrade plan for GPS III, including an A model (the baseline now being built) and B and C models, which would contain incremental upgrades.

They have since scrapped that plan and now refer to a yet-to-be-formed SV9+ plan. OSD is leading this analysis of alternatives. Such capabilities as a high-power spot beam capable of penetrating fierce jamming or multidirectional cross-links had been considered for the later increments, but the study is moving forward with an eye toward affordability.

Some satellites will include a new nuclear-detection system (placed on all GPS satellites to alert of a nuclear blast) and the Distress Alerting Satellite System, an improved emergency beacon locator system.

Meanwhile, Gruber says the program is exploring several ways to introduce additional new capabilities and remove them if a funding shortfall occurs.

The Air Force’s GPS constellation now includes 31 operational satellites of varying age and configuration, says Col. Harold Martin, who heads up PNT efforts at Air Force Space Command. In many cases, these spacecraft are far exceeding design expectations. Though they all transmit a “standard signal,” some have had failures over the years and are relying on redundant systems. Block IIAs have a design life of seven years, while the IIFs and IIRMs were built to last for at least 12 years. GPS III will be built for 15 years of operation.

Martin says that an analysis of alternatives of architectures to augment the GPS system if spacecraft malfunction or are subject to an attack should wrap up later this year.

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18 janvier 2012 3 18 /01 /janvier /2012 13:30


Jan 18, 2012 Spacewar.com (RIA Novosti)

Moscow - The United States is launching a new space arms-control initiative, as a Russian official accuses a U.S. radar of being behind the failure of Russia's Mars probe.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announce the initiative later on Tuesday, the Washington Times reported.

The plan will draw on a 2008 European Union draft code of conduct for space, an unnamed administration official told the paper.

"The United States has decided to enter into formal consultations and negotiations with the European Union and other spacefaring nations to develop an International Code of Conduct," the official said.

"We believe the European Union's draft Code of Conduct is a solid foundation for future negotiations on reaching a consensus international code," the official said, adding negotiations to sign the code may stretch well into next year.

In 2008, Washington rejected an international treaty proposed by Russia and China to ban the use of weapons in outer space.

Last week, Ellen Tauscher, the State Department's top official on arms control, said the United States rejected the EU draft because it was "too restrictive."

John R. Bolton, a former US. ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed the initiative as "mindless."

"The last thing the United States needs is a space code of conduct," he told the Washington Times in e-mailed comments. "The ideology of arms control has already failed in the Russian 'reset' policy, and it is sure to fail here as well."

Russia's space agency Roscosmos declined to comment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kommersant daily quoted an unnamed Russian space official as saying that the country's failed Mars probe, Phobos-Grunt, which crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, may have been disabled by "emissions" from a U.S. radar.

The official added, however, that this would have happened inadvertently.

In a newspaper interview on January 10, Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin suggested "outside interference" may be to blame for a recent run of space failures.

"I don't want to accuse anyone, but today there are powerful means to affect the trajectory of spacecraft, and we cannot rule out that they have been deployed," he told Izvestia daily.

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14 janvier 2012 6 14 /01 /janvier /2012 12:55


USAF Concept

Jan 13, 2012 By Amy Butler - aerospace daily and defense report

The U.S. Air Force is finalizing a deal with five nations to buy into the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) wideband communications constellation as it prepares for the launch of the fourth satellite on Jan. 19.

A memorandum of agreement among five nations in addition to the U.S. should be signed by Jan. 17, says Dave Madden, who oversees the Air Force’s military satellite communications program office at Los Angeles AFB.

These nations will help to buy the 10th satellite and in return for cost sharing will be provided with a portion of the bandwidth from the WGS global constellation. The nations have not yet been revealed.

WGS spacecraft, which provide large-data-rate communications, are being added to the constellation as the Defense Satellite Communications System satellites age out; eight DSCS satellites continue to operate in orbit. WGS-4 is the first Block II satellite capable of offering three times the bandwidth of satellites 1-3. The fourth spacecraft also includes a bypass that allows for transmission of very large data files required for shuttling airborne intelligence data, such as Reaper video feeds, around the globe.

Three WGS satellites are now in orbit; three are being built under the guidance of prime contractor Boeing and three more are on contract.

Australia is already on board as a partner, having contributed to an earlier WGS purchase in exchange for access to bandwidth.

Meanwhile, the team is preparing for the upcoming launch, the second for WGS on board the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium Plus booster, with a 5-meter fairing and four strap-on solid-rocket motors.

Once launched, the Air Force plans to conduct four apogee and perigee burns each within the first two weeks as the satellite heads to geosynchronous orbit roughly 22,000 mi. above the Earth.

In early February, operators plan to deploy the antennas and solar arrays. Testing over the continental U.S. is slated to take place from mid-March to mid-April, after which the satellite will be turned over for operational use to Air Force Space Command.

The satellite will then be moved to its operational orbit over the Indian Ocean.

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12 janvier 2012 4 12 /01 /janvier /2012 08:15


Photo: USAF

Jan 11, 2012 By Guy Norris - aerospace daily and defense report

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. must overcome the growing challenges of rising launch costs and aging propulsion systems if it is to gain much needed efficiencies and maintain its global lead, warns Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command.

Making the case for urgent action in the face of severe budget cuts, Shelton argues strongly in favor of the development of new main and upper-stage engines, which he believes are pivotal to the future of U.S launch capability. Speaking at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics New Horizon Forum here, Shelton says “to get better in space launch we need newer, more efficient engines to enable much more robust access to space.”

Although the past 81 consecutive national security launches mark “an unprecedented record” for U.S. space launch, Shelton says “we pay a huge financial premium for that success.” Alternatives must be found to offset these costs, he adds. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we want to do launch on the cheap, but there are places we can look to reduce costs without affecting our sterling record of success,” he says.

Speaking specifically about the RS-68 and RL10 engines that form the propulsion backbone of the current Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) launcher fleet, Shelton says “the RS-68 was designed about 20 years ago and the RL10 was originally designed back in the 1950s — for technology that’s pretty doggone old.” And the upper-stage engines are “red-lined on just about every launch we do, running at 25% over the originally designed chamber pressure,” he adds. “I’ve said for years that the person or company or person who finds a breakthrough in space propulsion will become very wealthy. It’s got to happen because it’s just too expensive to get hardware and people to orbit.”

Shelton says the knock-on effect of more efficient, less costly engines will affect the entire launch cost equation. “Now imagine what design trades we could make if it was an order of magnitude less costly to get to orbit. We’d have less complex, smaller satellites and hence smaller launch vehicles,” he says.

Although engine performance is currently adequate, Shelton believes the real benefits could be found in improving manufacturing processes, which he adds “leave a lot to be desired.” Citing the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10, he says each engine “requires more than 8,000 man touch hours — more than a hand-built Lamborghini if you can believe that.”

Although the requirements for the Air Force’s ongoing new-upper stage engine are yet to be fully defined, Shelton says “I expect it will be much easier to manufacture to significantly reduce our costs and it should also have increased performance so we can operate at reasonable margin. Increased reliability also reduces mission assurance concerns.”

In the meantime, Shelton says other cost-savings continue to be developed, including the new block-buy strategy for EELV. The Air Force also is “working with [EELV manufacturer United Launch Alliance] to identify other savings and is in the midst of due diligence to reduce launch costs with our current launch vehicles.” One such move includes launching multiple payloads per vehicle. “We recently decided we’ll launch future GPS satellites two at a time where it makes sense, and it’s a great way to save on overall launch costs,” he says.

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9 janvier 2012 1 09 /01 /janvier /2012 12:45



Pléaides: First images (San Francisco) Images © CNES

3 january 2012 astrium.eads.net

Paris and San Francisco - Launched during the night of 16 to 17 December 2011 on a Soyuz vehicle from Kourou (French Guiana), the French Space Agency CNES’ Pléiades 1A satellite has unveiled its first images.

Designed and built by Astrium for CNES, Pléiades is a very high resolution dual-use observation system for civil and military users.

One of Pléaides 1A’s most notable qualities is its exceptional acquisition capability – being highly agile it is able to capture imagery through 360° and produce stereo image cover. Pléiades 1A will supply imagery at a resolution of 70 cm which will then be processed on the ground to achieve a robust 50 cm resolution suitable for further processing for numerous geo-information applications.

The military images produced by the satellite will be directly received by military mission centres, while those for civil users will be received by Astrium Services – the sole civil distributor – at its ground stations.

[Excerpts from CNES website]




First images (San Francisco Airport) Images © CNES

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8 janvier 2012 7 08 /01 /janvier /2012 17:30


MOSCOU, 8 janvier – RIA Novosti

Les troupes de la Défense aérospatiale russe (VKO) ont détecté en 2011 près de 30 tirs de missiles, y compris balistiques, a annoncé dimanche aux journalistes un porte-parole du ministère russe de la Défense, Alexeï Zolotoukhine.

"En 2011, les forces du SPRN (systèmes d'alerte en cas d'attaque de missiles) et (…) de défense antimissile ont détecté près de 30 tirs de missiles et de fusées spatiales russes et étrangères", a déclaré la source.

Selon le porte-parole, les outils de surveillance n'ont manqué pas un seul tir, ce qui témoigne d'un niveau élevé de préparation des systèmes russes d'alerte précoce et de défense antimissile.

En dix dernières années, les services du Centre d'alerte aux missiles russe ont enregistré plus de 200 tirs de missiles balistiques et de fusées spatiales russes et étrangères.

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3 janvier 2012 2 03 /01 /janvier /2012 18:40



03/01/2012 Actus Air


Le 16 décembre 2011, à l’occasion du deuxième tir de la navette spatiale Soyouz à partir du centre spatial guyanais (CSG), un dispositif renforcé de défense aérienne a été mis en place. La posture permanente de sûreté (PPS) a été renforcée autour du CSG.


Le dispositif mis en œuvre par le commandement de la défense aérienne et des opérations aériennes (CDAOA), comprenait un radar Centaure et des hélicoptères (Puma et Fennec) de la base aérienne 367 de Cayenne, ainsi que des systèmes sol-air Mistral du 3e régiment étranger d’infanterie. Pour ce lancement, il a été complété par un E3-F du 36e escadron de détection et de contrôle aéroportés «Berry» de la base aérienne 702 d’Avord, déployé sur la base aérienne 367 de Cayenne.


Le tir s’est déroulé sous la surveillance conjointe de l’E3-F et du centre de contrôle militaire de Kourou. À 23h00 locales, Soyouz s’envolait vers l’espace afin de mettre en orbite les quatre microsatellites du projet Elisa (Electronic Intelligence Satellite – satellite de renseignement électronique) et le satellite Pléiades (un couple de deux satellites optiques d’observation de la terre).


Elisa est un démonstrateur technologique pour la mise au point de futures missions de localisation et de surveillance des radars sol depuis l’espace. Pléiades devra, quant à lui, fournir une nouvelle génération d’images haute résolution de la terre à des fins civiles et militaires.


Les enseignements tirés du projet Elisa serviront à préparer le programme CERES  dont la mise en orbite est prévue d’ici la fin de la décennie. Ce programme localisera et identifiera des signaux émis par les systèmes adverses, notamment pour cartographier les centres de télécommunications et les radars dans les zones de crise et évaluer leur niveau d’activité. Ainsi, CERES favorisera la suprématie des avions français en opérations par la maîtrise du recueil de renseignement d’origine électromagnétique (ROEM) depuis l’espace.


Le satellite Pléiades contribuera pour sa part à alimenter les forces armées en images haute résolution. Les applications sont multiples en ce qui concerne les opérations aériennes : processus de ciblage, dossiers d’objectif ou encore cartographie. Des stations, placées au plus près des théâtres opérations, permettront notamment la préparation de missions aériennes à l’aide d’un « axe image » de premier ordre.

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3 janvier 2012 2 03 /01 /janvier /2012 08:30



Chilean SSOT dual civil and military satellite


Jan 03, 2012 (SPX)


SSC has successfully finalized its launch support to the European space industry leader Astrium and the French space agency CNES for the six satellites that were simultaneously launched 17 December on a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.


SSC has supported all satellites during their 7-10 days mission-critical Launch and Early Orbit Phases (LEOP), which have placed them into their final orbits.


The simultaneously launched satellites are the French Earth observation satellite Pleiades 1A, the four French Defense Elisa satellites and the Chilean SSOT dual civil and military satellite. Astrium was prime contractor for all six.


SSC has supported these missions from its Esrange Satellite Station, which is one of the network management centres of the PrioraNet, SSC's global high-capacity ground station network. The Pleiades 1A services also included collaborative support from SSC's stations in Alaska, Australia and Chile.


"We are pleased to support CNES and Astrium in these launch operations", says Leif Osterbo, President of SSC's Satellite Management Services Division.


"Supporting many satellite launches at the same time is complex and not without challenges. The LEOP phase includes numerous critical maneuvers, which our staff has expertly supported. The PrioraNet is a great resource in LEOP services as it allows each customer to utilize our stations around the world in the most efficient way."


SSC will now continue to provide routine operations services as well as contingency services to these missions.

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2 janvier 2012 1 02 /01 /janvier /2012 17:55

National Emblem of the People's Republic of China.svg


January 2, 2012 By Ma Li, Zhao Zhuqing and Bi Lei / People's Daily Online- defpro.com


(Released Dec. 29, 2011) A series of successful launches of Beidou satellites and the construction of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System have attracted widespread attention and discussions in public both at home and abroad.


Zhao Xiaojin, director of the Aerospace Department of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, said that China Aerospace Group is now in the period with highly frequent launches, and the goal set in the "Twelfth Five-Year Plan" is to have 100 rockets launched, 100 satellites sent into the space, and 100 satellites orbiting stably in operations. In the recent 4 to 5 years, averagely 20 space launch activities were implemented each year. This year, China Aerospace Group has completed 19 space launches with 21 spacecrafts launched, including 3 Beidou navigation satellites. The Tiangong-1 and the Shenzhou VIII were among them as well. This year China ranks No.2 in the world by the number of space launches, while Russia makes 36 launches, China makes 19 launches, and the United States makes 18 launches. The Beidou Navigation Satellite System will develop and launch 30-plus navigation satellites by 2020, and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation assumes the tasks of the research and development as well as the launch of the two major systems of the satellite and the rocket carrier.

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30 décembre 2011 5 30 /12 /décembre /2011 13:25



During the trial run Beidou can offer positioning to within 25 meters but when the system is officially launched next year accuracy will be enhanced to within 10 meters, he said.


Dec 30, 2011 Source: Xinhua News Agency


Beijing - China's homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System is designed to meet diversified civilian needs, said National Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun Wednesday.


"As is known to all, all international navigation satellite systems are designed for dual military and civilian use," said Yang, adding that "some people" have been overly worried.


China's development of the Beidou system is mainly for civilian needs, while it will also be conducive to the building up of national defense, Yang said.


China has been committed to have the Beidou system be compatible and interoperable with other navigation systems, Yang said.


The Beidou Navigation Satellite System began providing initial positioning, navigation and timing operational services to China and its surrounding areas from Tuesday.


earlier related report


Satellite navigation system launched - by Xin Dingding for China Daily


Beijing (XNA) Dec 29 - China started to run its own satellite positioning system, Beidou, on Tuesday as the country climbed the global tech ladder and challenged the monopoly of the West.


Beidou, or Big Dipper, the domestic version of the US Global Positioning System (GPS), started providing navigation, positioning and timing data on a pilot basis to China and the neighboring area for free on Tuesday, Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation Office, said.


The system, with 10 orbiting satellites, covers an area from Australia in the south to Russia in the north. Signals can reach the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the west and the Pacific Ocean in the east, Ran said.


With six more satellites to be launched next year, the system will cover a wider area and eventually the entire globe by 2020 with a constellation of 35 satellites, he said.


The accuracy of the positioning service will also improve as more satellites orbit.


During the trial run Beidou can offer positioning to within 25 meters but when the system is officially launched next year accuracy will be enhanced to within 10 meters, he said.


With the system operational China is the third member of an elite group, along with the US and Russia, to develop a satellite navigation system.


The US spent 20 years and more than $20 billion on the GPS. Completed in 1994, the system has 24 navigation satellites and is widely used around the world.


Beidou has its own unique features, Ran said.


"It not only tells users where they are and what time it is but also allows users to tell others the information through short messages," Ran said, adding that this feature is being considered by other systems.


Russia's Glonass system achieved a 24-satellite constellation in 1996 but succumbed to funding problems.


The rebuilding of the Glonass system is almost finished and Russian media reported that the system resumed service earlier this month.


The European Union and the European Space Agency are building the Galileo satellite navigation system. Japan and India also intend to build independent regional navigation systems.

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30 décembre 2011 5 30 /12 /décembre /2011 12:40




Le satellite Pleiades  - CNES


30 décembre 2011 par Rédaction – Aerobuzz.fr


Ironie du sort, c’est une fusée russe Soyouz qui a lancé le 17 décembre 2011 les quatre satellites espions français ELISA à partir de la base de Kourou (Guyane).


Nous sommes le 17 décembre 2011, la fusée russe de 300 tonnes et 50 mètres de haut s’élance. A son bord se trouvent plusieurs satellites, Pléiades 1A, ELISA et SSOT. 59 minutes après le déchainement des moteurs de cette fusée inoxydable dont la conception remonte aux années 50, les quatre satellites ELISA quittaient leur coiffe pour se déployer à 700 km d’altitude.


Une fois de plus, il faut louer la transparence du ministère de la défense. Une transparence qui apparaît dans le nom de ces capteurs particuliers, en effet Elisa signifie Electronic intelligence satellites. En clair il s’agit d’écouter et de caractériser les radars des pays survolés. Une capacité d’espionnage, qui relève d’une discipline dénommée « guerre électronique », pratiquée par tous les pays de la planète et dont les maîtres la Russie, les USA, la Chine, le Japon et Israël. Mais au fond pourquoi espionner les radars ? La réponse tient dans le proverbe latin bien connu « si tu veux la paix, prépares la guerre  ». Un proverbe latin détourné par les spécialistes du genre qui ont fait leur la devise « si vis pacem, para bellum sed electronicum » (« si tu veux la paix, prépares la guerre…électronique »).


En clair il s’agit de se renseigner sur les fréquences et les paramètres des radars de défense d’un pays afin d’alimenter les systèmes de brouillage des avions d’arme tels que le Rafale. Un avion qui doit pouvoir accomplir ses missions de défense aérienne ou de frappe offensive quelles que soient les menaces présentes sur le théâtre d’opérations. Or sans une connaissance précise des radars de défense aérienne en service dans le monde, et des réseaux de commandement associés, on parle alors de l’ordre de bataille électronique, toute mission est vouée à l’échec. Concrètement, les données collectées, alimentent des bibliothèques numériques qui sont à leur tout chargées dans les avions et hélicoptères qui seront mieux à même d’identifier une menace afin de l’éviter, de la détruire ou de la brouiller efficacement.


On comprend dès lors l’intérêt vital d’Elisa, qui peut se permettre de survoler en toute impunité n’importe quel point du globe à l’écoute du spectre radio. Mieux, ces satellites, évoluant en essaim, sont capables de se coordonner pour localiser avec précision la position des radars détectés.


Avec ce lancement la France entre dans la cour des grands en matière de guerre électronique, une cour dont Paris était sorti par la petite porte en retirant du service à la fin du siècle dernier l’unique avion de reconnaissance stratégique DC8 Sarigue puis son successeur mort né Sarigue NG . Ne laissant à la France pour son renseignement aéroporté que les deux vénérables C160 Transall Gabriel et quelques pods Astac sous Mirage F1. Peut t-on pour autant se priver de ces avions puisque nous disposons de ces satellites ? La réponse est non dans la mesure où les satellites ELISA, qui sont le fruit de la coopération de la DGA, du CNES, de Thalès et d’Astrium ne font que passer brièvement sur un territoire donné. Alors que les avions eux sont complémentaires car ils assurent une plus grande permanence sur une zone donnée. Il convient donc à présent de songer au remplacement des Gabriel, et du Sarigue par des moyens modernes… Sous peine de perdre des capacités et une expertise militaire de premier plan qui pourrait nous faire défaut demain.

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29 décembre 2011 4 29 /12 /décembre /2011 18:05

PLA China


December 29, 2011 emirates247.com (Reuters)


Network to improve PLA's precision attack capability; Effort spurred by US successes in Gulf War, Balkans


China this week reached a milestone in its drive to master the military use of space with the launch of trials for its Beidou satellite global positioning network, a move that will bring it one step closer to matching US space capabilities.


If Beijing can successfully deploy the full 35 satellites planned for the Beidou network on schedule by 2020, its military will be free of its current dependence for navigation on the US global positioning network (GPS) signals and Russia's similar GLONASS system.


And, unlike the less accurate civilian versions of GPS and GLONASS available to the People's Liberation Army (PLA), this network will give China the accuracy to guide missiles, smart munitions and other weapons.


"This will allow a big jump in the precision attack capability of the PLA," said Andrei Chang, a Hong Kong-based analyst of the Chinese military and editor of Kanwa Asian Defence magazine.


China has launched 10 Beidou satellites and plans to launch six more by the end of next year, according to the China Satellite Navigation Management Office.


Chinese and foreign military experts say the PLA's General Staff Department and General Armaments Department closely coordinate and support all of China's space programmes within the sprawling science and aerospace bureaucracy.


As part of this system, the Beidou, or "Big Dipper", network will have an important military role alongside the country's rapidly expanding network of surveillance, imaging and remote sensing satellites.


China routinely denies having military ambitions in space.


Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun on Wednesday dismissed fears the Beidou network would pose a military threat, noting that all international satellite navigation systems are designed for dual civilian and military use.




China accelerated its military satellite research and development after PLA commanders found they were unable to track two US aircraft carrier battle groups deployed in 1996 to the Taiwan Strait at a time of high tension between the island and the mainland, analysts say.


The effort received a further boost when it was shown how crucial satellite networks were in the 1991 Gulf War, the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


While China still lags the United States and Russia in overall space technology, over the last decade it has rapidly become a state-of-the-art competitor in space-based surveillance after deploying a range of advanced satellite constellations that serve military and civilian agencies.


With the launch of more than 30 surveillance satellites over the last decade, according to space technology experts, the PLA can monitor an expanding area of the earth's surface with increased frequency, an important element of reliable military reconnaissance.


That coverage gives PLA commanders vastly improved capability to detect and track potential military targets.


Real-time satellite images and data can also be used to coordinate the operations of China's naval, missile and strike aircraft forces in operations far from the mainland.


"What we are seeing is China broadly acquiring the same capabilities in this area as those held by the US," said Ross Babbage, a defence analyst and founder of the Canberra-based Kokoda Foundation, an independent security policy unit.


"Essentially, they are making most of the Western Pacific far more transparent to their military."


In a recent article for the Journal of Strategic Studies, researchers Eric Hagt and Matthew Durnin attempted to estimate the capability of China's space network using orbital modeling software and available data on satellite performance.


China's most basic satellites carried electro-optical sensors capable of taking high resolution digital images in the visible and non-visible wavelengths, wrote the authors.


More advanced satellites launched in recent years carried powerful synthetic aperture radars that could penetrate cloud and cover much bigger areas in high detail.


Added to that, China was now deploying satellites that could monitor electronic signals and emissions, so-called electronic intelligence or ELINT platforms, the authors said.


"Next to China, only the United States possesses more capable tactical support systems in space for tactical operations," they wrote.

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29 décembre 2011 4 29 /12 /décembre /2011 12:35



Dec 29, 2011 gpsdaily.com (RIA Novosti)


Moscow - Russia and India intend to cooperate in the production of satellite navigation equipment and to provide services to civilian users of the Glonass system, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday in a statement.


"The sides expressed mutual interest in the use of Russia's global satellite navigation system Glonass and intend to promote cooperation in this area, including joint production of satellite navigation equipment and services to civilian users," the statement says.


Glonass is Russia's answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

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29 décembre 2011 4 29 /12 /décembre /2011 08:15



2011-12-28 xinhua


La technologie chinoise de système de navigation par satellite Beidou a été conçue pour répondre aux besoins diversifiés de la population civile, a annoncé mercredi le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense nationale Yang Yujun.

"Comme chacun le sait, tous les systèmes de navigation par satellite sont conçus à la fois pour une utilisation civile et militaire", a indiqué M. Yang, ajoutant que "certains" s'inquiétaient beaucoup trop.



Le développement par la Chine du système Beidou vise principalement à répondre à des besoins civils, bien qu'il soit également bénéfique pour renforcer la capacité de la défense nationale, a précisé M. Yang.


La Chine s'est beaucoup engagée pour que le système Beidou soit interopérable et compatible avec les autres systèmes de navigation, a-t-il poursuivi.



Le système de navigation par satellite Beidou a commencé mardi à offrir des services de positionnement, de navigation et de synchronisation en Chine et dans les régions voisines.


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