In the area of satellite control, the DoD, together with NASA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), developed a comprehensive architecture for future Satellite Operations (SATOPS) in the 2020 timeframe. The SATOPS Architecture Transistion Plan includes conducting launch, early-orbit checkout anomaly resolution, and low data rate operations, using a single interoperable ground- and space-network for DoD, NASA, NOAA, and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). This Government network allows for increased interoperability and reduced ground infrastructure. Towards this goal, the Air Force Satellite Control Network began upgrading its remote tracking stations to be compatible with Unified S-Band (USB), the band in which NASA conducts its own satellite operations.
In terms of environmental monitoring, the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) is a tri-agency program of the Departments of Defense and Commerce (DOC) and NASA. In FY 2000, the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO) awarded two system program definition and risk-reduction contracts. In addition, the IPO continued critical contract down-select activities for the suite of environmental sensors that will fly on NPOESS. The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP), an IPO and NASA joint mission, continued to progress in FY 2000. A joint DoD/NOAA/NASA working group conducted a successful mission requirements review on the way to the 2005 NPP launch.
DoD, NASA, NOAA, and other Federal agencies completed a Space Weather Architecture Transition Plan which received National Security Space Senior Steering Group (NSS SSG) approval during FY 2000. The plan outlines actions and activities which will start the implementation of the recommendations from the comprehensive 1999 National Security Space Architect Space Weather Architecture Study over the next several years, part of which is the Governments multiagency investment strategy. This study laid out the structure for a space weather architecture to meet all U.S. Government requirements and mitigate the adverse impacts of solar events by the year 2025. The NSS SSG, via an Architecture Implementation Memorandum, directed stakeholder organizations and agencies to start implementing actions.
The DOD successfully launched the Tri-Service Experiments Mission 5 (TSX-5) on a Pegasus launch vehicle in FY 2000. The TSX-5 mission operates two experimental payloads for 6 months to 1 year in support of two DoD Space Experiments Review Board experiments. The two experiments are the Space Technology Research Vehicle-2 (STRV-2) and the Compact Environmental Anomaly Sensor (CEASE). STRV-2 is a multinational, highly integrated suite of experiments designed to push the envelope of space-based imaging technology, satellite vibration suppression, and material science. STRV-2 is sponsored by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. CEASE is an environmental scanner, providing the spacecraft with essential knowledge about the surrounding space. CEASE used this flight to prove its near-spacecraft environmental assessment capabilities. Phillips Laboratory Geophysics Laboratory sponsors CEASE.
The DOD, via the U.S. Air Force, also successfully launched Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Satellite 15 (DMSP S-15) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a Titan II booster in FY 2000. This DoD polar-orbiting weather satellite mission will ultimately converge with NOAAs polar-orbiting mission to form NPOESS. S-15 is the first DMSP satellite whose post-launch checkout was conducted from NOAAs Satellite Operations Control Center in Suitland, Maryland. Previous DMSP postlaunch checkouts were conducted from Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Last year, as part of the merger designed to promote efficiency and cut down public expense, the DoD transferred control of its weather satellites to NOAA and closed the 6th Space Operations Squadron at Offutt after nearly 35 years of continuous operations. The Air Force Reserve now operates a backup DMSP command and control facility at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. NOAAs Suitland facility is now the primary location for providing functions associated with command and control of all U.S. weather satellites, including early orbit checkout following launch operations, satellite state-of- health maintenance, and satellite sensor and payload management.
In the area of space-based communications, programs achieved several key milestones in FY 2000 with several launches and major programmatic decisions. The first Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) satellite equipped with the Service Life Enhancement Program (SLEP) package was launched in January 2000. The second of four was successfully launched in October 2000. These satellites represent a significant increase in capability over the DSCS III satellites, with higher-powered transponders and greater total system capacity, up to a 200 percent increase. Regarding the highly protected SatCom systems, DoD will be accelerating the first satellite in the Advanced EHF satellite system to mitigate the loss of the the Milstar Flight 3 satellite in April 1999. For mobile communications, the UHF Follow-On (UFO) 10 satellite was launched in November 1999, ensuring the UFO constellation will continue to provide global UHF coverage well into the future.
In the area of positioning and navigation, as directed by President Clinton, Selective Availability (SA) was discontinued shortly after midnight on May 1, 2000. The currently planned Global Positioning System (GPS) modernization program will add new military signals (known as the M-code) and a second civil signal to some Block IIR and all Block IIF satellites, and will add a third civil signal on the Block IIF satellites. Since SA was discontinued, horizontal position errors of less than 10 meters have routinely been observed. Worldwide transportation safety, scientific, and commercial interests benefit from the increased accuracy.
Plans were put in place for a significant investment over the next several years to modernize GPS to enhance its ability to meet both military and civil needs for the foreseeable future. The currently planned GPS modernization program will add new military signals (known as the M-code) to Block IIR and IIF satellites, a second civil signal on IIR satellites, and a third civil signal (L5) on IIF satellites. Since the GPS modernization program will address both military and civil requirements, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed with the Department of Transportation. This MOA provides for formal civil participation in the modernization activities.
The Secretaries of Defense and Transportation jointly signed the latest revision of the Federal Radionavigation Plan. This plan outlines future policies for Government-provided radionavigation services for the foreseeable future and is updated biennially.
The Department completed a Presidentially mandated Broad Area Review that resulted from the three consecutive launch failures of the Titan IV system in 1999. Several of the resultant recommendations have been completed with the remaining items at various stages of completion.
In September 2000, DoD also restructured its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program to include additional risk-reduction efforts. It increased technical personnel to provide Government oversight of critical processes. In April 2000, contractor-defined Critical Design Reviews for EELV systems were completed. In August 2000, DoD completed and received approval from the Department of State to support importing of technical drawing and manufacturing processes required to support U.S. coproduction of the RD-180 engine, still awaiting approval from the Russian government for license to export required documentation.
The interagency report on Future Management and Use of U.S. Space Launch Bases and Ranges was released on February 8, 2000. This report identified several key recommendations that have been incorporated into near-term plans of several agencies, including DoD, DoT, DoC, and NASA.
The DoD successfully launched 12 satellites using the Pegasus, Minotaur, Delta, Atlas, and Titan IV vehicles. The DoD successfully demonstrated the Minotaur launch system in January 2000. The Minotaur is a derivative vehicle using components of the Minuteman II vehicle.
In the areas of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) made significant progress toward fielding the followon system to the Nations Defense Support Program (DSP) missile launch early warning satellites. SBIRS is fielded in three increments. The technical difficulties in 1999 that had set back the transition to a new mission control station have been resolved. The program is now on a clear path to declaring an initial operating capability for the SBIRS Increment 1 in November of 2001. Increment 1 consolidated the DSPs overseas ground stations located in Europe and Australia, with the old U.S. ground station into a single mission-control station located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. The overseas sites were replaced with minimally staffed relay ground stations in order to realize savings in staffing, operations, and maintenance. The addition of the SBIRS High component, also known as SBIRS Increment 2, has made significant progress in detailed design work for the key components of the system.
The Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) sensor payload, and the mobile multimission processors, both passed successful critical design reviews, paving the way to begin fabrication of HEO flight payloads and SBIRS mobile ground stations. The DoD also conducted requirements definition and trade studies for SBIRS low.
An integrated DoD Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability advanced considerably in 2000 with the publishing of the ISR Integrated Capstone Strategic Plan. This plan affects both space and airborne collection systems and their ground processing and exploitation segments.
The DoD Space Test Program (STP) continued its 35-year legacy of enabling future DoD space superiority. STP had six launches during FY 2000, including three major satellite missions, using four different boosters plus the Space Shuttle. One of the major missions was Tri-Service Experiments-5, which carried a BMDO payload that has already proven the ability to detect from space nonafterburning threats such as cruise missiles. The Multi-Spectral Thermal Imager satellite was launched by STP in a partnership with DoE; it is now demonstrating state-of-the-art imaging technology for treaty monitoring, bomb damage assessment, and battlefield intelligence. The Air Force Research Lab and STP collaborated on the Mightysat II.1 mission. That spacecraft is proving the utility of an experimental hyperspectral imager on a low-cost light satellite.
DoD also completed an extensive review of the Space Control Mission Area and began the implementation of several of the recommendations from the review that the Deputy Secretary of Defense had directed. The primary area of emphasis was in space surveillance with the designation of the Air Force as the lead system integrator. The space control technology effort within the Air Force continued to identify and develop critical technology to meet DoD requirements.
The successfully completed Space Control Broad Area Review that was directed by the Deputy Secretary of Defense resulted in 26 specific taskings in 5 major areas: space surveillance, space system protection, space prevention, space negation, and operations. Efforts continued to supervise and track tasking accomplishments. Completion and approval of the results of the Space Surveillance Task Force (SSTF) was one of the significant accomplishments.