The latest US satellites NTS-3: what are the advantages and what will they use


In the US, they are preparing to launch new satellites NTS-3 into space. They will have to quickly supply data to the US Air Force fighters. The launch is scheduled for 2022, but much will depend on funding.


As you know, the NTS-1 satellite was developed by the US Naval Laboratory and launched back in 1974, and NTS-2 in 1977. Now it's NTS-3's turn.

The development of the satellite for navigation technologies 3 (NTS-3) is carried out at the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space and Rocket Systems Center. The main contractor for the project is L3Harris Technologies. In 2018, this company signed a contract worth $ 84 million. Now, according to the company, the satellite is in a state of active development.

One of the most important characteristics of the satellite, in addition to the new elemental base, increased positioning accuracy, increased efficiency, is that the satellite is geostationary.

Bill Guttle, president of L3Harris Space Systems, emphasizes that the new constellation will consist of no less than 4, and probably also of 8 satellites. They will be placed not in the middle Earth orbit (20 km), but in the geosynchronous orbit (000 km), which will allow covering the region with fewer satellites. Now, at least 36 satellites are required to provide a global signal, and new technology will significantly reduce their number.

In addition to high maneuverability, satellites will also be distinguished by a fully digital navigation payload. As new capabilities develop, the satellite software will also be updated, which will allow it to be constantly upgraded, leading to a state adequate to current challenges and risks.

The NTS-3 space segment includes the latest components not previously used on GPS satellites. Among them is an improved antenna system, which will be of particular interest to the military. One of the most important experiments with a high gain antenna is the determination of the effect of a controlled beam on the displacement and change of the phase center, both for users of powerful signals and for users of Earth coverage signals.

“NTS-3 will experiment with a new digital signal generator that can be reprogrammed in orbit, which will allow it to broadcast new signals, improve performance by preventing and eliminating interference and adding signatures to detect spoofing attacks.”

- emphasized in the information message.

It is also worth noting that L3Harris is currently digitizing GPS navigation systems. Now GPS III satellites are 70% digitalized. At the same time, according to the president of the company, two GPS III satellites are already in orbit, and the third should be launched in April 2020.

Returning to the NTS-3 review, it should be noted that, unlike other American experimental satellites, it will have important applied value for fighter aviation US Air Force, as it will increase the GPS aggregate and will provide a geographically focused signal (Positioning, Navigation and Timing signal).

As we can see, recently the United States has been paying increasing attention to the development of space programs, including the creation of new satellites. President Donald Trump considers the space direction as one of the highest priorities. It is no coincidence that it was on his initiative that the US Space Forces were allocated.

Now, success in the operations of the air force and naval forces also largely depends on the effectiveness of the development of satellite technologies. This is well understood in the United States and, fearing competition from Russia and China, are investing heavily in satellite technology.
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  1. The leader of the Redskins 27 February 2020 12: 36 New
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    "- What shall we do, Comrade Stalin?
    - What to do, what to do ... We will envy! ... "
    It would be so funny if it were not so sad ...
    1. Vladimir_2U 27 February 2020 14: 13 New
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      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      It would be so funny if it were not so sad ...
      It’s also, and if you don’t think about which engines all this is put into orbit, as it were, on our taxiways ...
  2. rocket757 27 February 2020 13: 06 New
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    In the US, they are preparing to launch new satellites NTS-3 into space. They will have to quickly supply data to the US Air Force fighters. The launch is scheduled for 2022, but much will depend on funding.

    But this is just interesting ... their nedopenguin may well be provided with information, without which he is like a lame duck. Many have already written that to realize its advantages there is no intelligence infrastructure, information support! Of course, a satellite network is not all that is needed, but a serious step in this direction.
    Let's see what and how they succeed ... it is necessary to prepare effective countermeasures!
    1. The leader of the Redskins 27 February 2020 15: 20 New
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      And I about that. The satellite launch has become commonplace. It is another matter for what purpose it is launched. Cinema and communication are one thing, and the specialized provision of certain goals is completely different.
      1. rocket757 27 February 2020 16: 28 New
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        Caps throw toward the Yankees, oh how not worth it.
        Power is powerful and if they can stall, they can deliver a lot of trouble to anyone.
        If / when they have a figure that thoroughly cleans their swamp, there will be good reason to strain!
        The hope that they themselves will be stuck, permanently or for a long time.
  3. knn54 27 February 2020 13: 24 New
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    Back in Soviet times. While working in the rocket and space industry, I heard from the “bosses” about the “killer satellites”.
    I think that after a third of a century there is a worthy in zashniks.
    1. cniza 27 February 2020 14: 01 New
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      Quote: knn54
      killer companions.
      I think that after a third of a century there is a worthy in zashniks.


      It seems that both we and them ...
      1. knn54 27 February 2020 15: 19 New
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        They have them called "guards", and go to the "main" one by one or even a pair. Hence, there are so many in orbits.
        1. cniza 27 February 2020 16: 02 New
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          So they don’t call us murderers, though I don’t know how ... lol
  4. Amateur 27 February 2020 13: 31 New
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    In addition to high maneuverability, satellites
    What maneuverability does a geostationary satellite have?
    One of the most important experiments with a high gain antenna is the determination of the effect of a controlled beam on the displacement and change of the phase center, both for users of powerful signals and for users of Earth coverage signals.
    In Russian, it sounds like "a phased array is used on the satellite", etc.
    In general, the article is a set of incorrect translation from English.
    But it is possible that the author of the English text wrote about issues that he did not understand.
    1. Operator 27 February 2020 16: 26 New
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      It is only a matter of encrypting GPS signals in order to protect themselves from spoofing by false signals from an enemy UAV.

      Plus, a decrease in the number of GPS satellite constellations from 24 to 8 satellites (due to their placement in a geostationary orbit) - the United States has broken the printing press, of course.
      1. Amateur 27 February 2020 17: 05 New
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        from replacing them with false signals with an enemy UAV
        And if not from an UAV, but simply from the ground?
        You additionally translate me or this is from the section
        I think so
    2. Doctor 27 February 2020 19: 21 New
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      What maneuverability does a geostationary satellite have?

      It’s a little blowing away from the point, periodically it is necessary to correct the orbit.
      1. Amateur 27 February 2020 19: 28 New
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        It’s a little blowing away from the point, periodically it is necessary to correct the orbit.

        You may be surprised, but I know how a geostationary satellite is positioned in orbit. Therefore, he does not need any “high maneuverability”. But neither Mr. Polonsky, nor the author of the English-language article, which was unsuccessfully translated and we are discussing now, may not know this. Therefore, they do the "interlinear".
  5. Undecim 27 February 2020 14: 36 New
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    Fearing competition from Russia and China, they are investing heavily in satellite technology.
    Well, when site authors before writing, begin to read at least a little bit on the topic in which they write. Moreover, there is competition. The program is exclusively for military purposes.
    GPS navigation systems, due to their low power, are vulnerable to jamming. Even radiation with a power of 1 to 10 watts can disrupt GPS navigation in a large area - both for military and civilian signals.
    At this stage, in order to “tune away” from such threats, the US Army is moving from existing GPS receivers to new encryption technologies, which are known as M-codes.
    Military GPS receivers capable of working with the M-code will be able to receive signals, including directional antennas in areas of several hundred kilometers in diameter, which can be selectively formed in the desired region. In this case, the signal in the M-code will have significantly greater power compared to those currently used, which will require large resources of the potential adversary to suppress it, and improving the design of GPS receivers will also complicate electronic warfare.
    To this end, the United States is implementing the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program - the formation of a constellation of GPS III satellites, consisting of 22 spacecraft. It is planned to start launches of the first of 22 satellites in the IIIF block in 2026, and to complete the formation of the constellation until 2034.
    The NTS-3 program is designed to “temporarily patch a hole” and switch to work with the M-code until a full-fledged GPS IIIF group is deployed and the technology is finally developed.
    1. CBR600 27 February 2020 16: 20 New
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      Even it seems to me that this is all, including GPS IIIF, a miserable attempt based on speculation. Of course, I don’t feel sorry for their money, but I feel nonsense and that's it. Customer in technology - who? This will stun him.
      1. Undecim 27 February 2020 16: 33 New
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        Even it seems to me
        There is an old folk recipe for this occasion. Give it a try.