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Session A1: Space and Satellite Applications, NTS-3 Overview

NTS-3 Experiments with a New SatNav Payload Architecture
Joanna Hinks, Air Force Research Labs; James Lake, Canyon Consulting; Val A. Loretti, MEI Company; Shah Nejad, Canyon Consulting; Gary Okerson, The MITRE Corporation; Craig Lollock, Canyon Consulting; Nathan Pax, University of Dayton Research Institute; Stephen Stoyanov, L3Harris; Renee A. Yazdi, Canyon Consulting
Location: Ballroom E
Date/Time: Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2:30 p.m.

As technology progresses, future Satellite Navigation (SatNav) efforts need to stay ahead of the threat. In recognition of this current landscape and the need to maintain our national edge in the PNT arena, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is launching an experimental navigation satellite that is making significant strides in reconfigurability, robustness, and resilience. The current GPS system is designed to handle only minor, predetermined modifications. In contrast, the NTS-3 Radio Frequency (RF) satellite architecture was designed with reconfigurability in mind, including a highly reconfigurable actively steered electronic phased array which can form multiple, highly customized beams at the foundation of a new physical layer architecture.
This talk overviews what is being called the PNT Chain experimentation, which focuses on experimentation with the innovative, inherently reconfigurable SatNav payload architecture. Looking from the top down, the highest level of challenge rests in understanding how this flexible system is used, in a practical time effective way. Then, system accuracy and signal quality need to be characterized to understand which users might benefit. Ultimately, the question of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and payload Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) advantages of this novel approach need to be addressed. Once these questions are answered new signal and waveform experimentation is enabled by a capable and characterized physical layer foundation.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Public Affairs release approval #AFRL-2021-0106.



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