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U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) Nanosatellite Program (SNaP)-3 Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

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Technical Report

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The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command SMDC Nanosatellite Program SNaP-3 will help pave the way toward assured global access to communications for the disadvantaged tactical user, particularly while on the move. SNaP-3 will provide the United States Southern Command USSOUTHCOM and Partner Nations PNs with Beyond Line-of-Sight BLOS communications and Unattended Ground Sensor UGS data exfiltration capabilities using three nanosatellites in a Low-Earth-Orbit LEO constellation. These nanosatellites will provide communications capabilities supporting voice, text, and data device connectivity for remote users in the USSOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility AOR.The SNaP satellites will have the capacity for storing up to three communications waveforms, and providing compatibility with ANPRC-117 and ANPRC-152 radios, as well as all other radios conforming to MIL-STD-188-181B. A ground station will provide Command and Control C2 of the satellites and relay of collected data from UGS gateways, providing Situational Awareness SA at the tactical level. SNaP supports the USSOUTHCOM goal of multi-layered surveillance by enabling ground-level detection and monitoring capability through double- or triple-canopy foliage with BLOS data collected from UGS. When fully implemented, SNaP will provide both U.S. and PN Warfighters with reliable and actionable SA in an environment that previously provided very limited BLOS communications for the dismounted warfighter. The true innovation of SNaP is the ability of tactical commanders to directly control and access LEO assets for immediate support to remote users in complex and dynamic environments. A full constellation of affordable and responsive SNaP-like platforms in LEO providing a spectrum of communications and remote sensing capabilities would significantly enhance the connectivity and awareness of remote ground forces and have a profound effect on the nature of distributed ground operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Non-Radio Communications

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