December 9th, 2013 (ISH) The United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) took a first step in an effort to evaluate how low-cost space communication capabilities can support information sharing and tactical communications across wide geographic expanses, including remote and densely forested areas.
A SOUTHCOM-sponsored nanosatellite was one of the payloads of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that successfully launched at 11:14 p.m. local time on Dec. 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the state of California. Two additional nanosatellites are scheduled to launch in December 2014.
The nanosatellite will be set to a low-earth orbit and evaluated in partnership with Brazil and Peru as part of a technology program.
“This is just an evaluation, but we think this space capability could help improve communication during various operations,” said Gen. John Kelly, SOUTHCOM’s commander. “Investing in nanosatellites is also an opportunity for us to collaborate from the ground up with partner nations who are looking to develop this capability for a variety of security and commercial uses.”