||This article needs to be updated. (September 2013)|
|Launch mass||108 kilograms (238 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||Never launched|
|Launch site||Omelek Island|
|Apogee||410 kilometers (250 mi)|
TacSat-1 is an experimental satellite built by the Naval Research Laboratory on behalf of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Force Transformation (OFT). The second satellite in the series, TacSat-2, has already been launched. It is the planned payload of the sixth launch of the SpaceX Falcon 1.
TacSat-1 will carry a variety of experimental payloads. Much of the payload software is implemented through the use of bash scripts operating on the "Copperfield-2" general-purpose computer system aboard the spacecraft.
The TacSat series of experimental spacecraft are designed to allow military commanders on a battlefield to request and obtain imagery and other data from a satellite as it passes overhead. Collected data will be delivered to field commanders in minutes rather than hours or days. The sensor on TacSat-1 can collect color images sharp enough to distinguish ground objects as small as 1 meter in diameter.
TacSat-1 was initially planned for launch in January 2004, but delays in Falcon 1 becoming operational precluded this date. It was initially scheduled to fly on the maiden flight of the Falcon 1, but technical problems led to another Falcon 1, with FalconSat-2, launching first. Following the failure of this launch, it was moved to the third flight, to allow a demonstration launch to precede it. The failure of the demonstration flight led to further delays. In August 2007, the Pentagon announced that the launch of TacSat-1 was canceled due to the completion of most of its mission requirements by AFRL's previously launched TacSat-2. In September 2008, this decision was reversed, and it was reported that TacSat-1 would be launched by the sixth Falcon 1, in 2009.
The TacSat series of satellites use commercial or available launchers, and largely off-the-shelf components, in order to reduce costs.
Apart from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), other organizations participating included:
- DOD Space Test Program (Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Development and Test Wing)
- DOD Operationally Responsive Space Office
- Army Space Program Office
- Air Force Space Command
- Space Warfare Center
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
- Lindsey, Clark S. (2008-09-11). "Next Falcon I launch planned within 2 weeks". RLV and Space Transport News. HobbySpace. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- "Tactical Microsatellite Experiment (TacSat-1)". NRL.
- "Rapid Satellite Payload Development for TacSat-1". NRL.
- Singer, Jeremy (2006-12-04). "USAF To Experiment With Satellite To Improve Ground Communications". Defense News.
- Berger, Brian (2007-09-06). "Pentagon Cancels TacSat-1 Mission". Space.com. Retrieved 2008-08-09.[dead link]