NTS-3: Advancing PNT

The Navigation Technology Satellite-3, or NTS-3, is expected to change the architecture for satellite navigation and to deliver more robust PNT capabilities to warfighters. The experimental satellite will broadcast new signals from near-geosynchronous orbit (GEO), breaking the mold of how we currently view GPS and modernising the service. The satellite recently just entered its next phase: preparation for a late 2023 launch.

Only four years after NTS-3 was announced as the U.S. Air Force’s first Vanguard program, the L3Harris space vehicle was recently delivered to an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) test facility. The space vehicle is fully integrated and the PNT payload put together and assembled into the Northrop Grumman ESPAStar bus, with the team planning to start characterizing overall system performance this summer, NTS-3 Program Manager Arlen Biersgreen said.

This is a significant step forward as AFRL is now positioned to apply government and contractor resources to efficiently complete all the necessary steps before the satellite can be sent to Cape Canaveral for launch, Biersgreen said. This includes remaining intra-payload and payload-to-bus functional and performance tests. The first radio frequency broadcast tests of the novel PNT signals that will be demonstrated from GEO after the launch are among them—marking a huge milestone once achieved.

Read more in Inside GNSS article. https://insidegnss.com/nts-3-advancing-pnt/

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