The experimental satellite NTS-3 will be launched in 2023, according to reports from C4ISRNET and Space news. The US military will use the positioning, navigation and synchronization (PNT) satellite in addition to GPS.
The satellite was originally scheduled to launch in 2022.
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) plans to use the extra time to reduce risks and conduct more ground tests.
Satellite 3 navigation technology will help you target future GPS satellites, a priority area for the military, as the technology has become easier to tamper with and jam. Among other features, the NTS-3 will have controlled beams for regional coverage and a software-defined payload that can be reprogrammed into orbit.
AFRL discussed the delay at a media roundtable held on Wednesday, C4ISRNET reports. AFRL Brigade Commander. General Heather Pringle said the shift was beyond the control of the lab because the satellite would be launched as a payload by the U.S. space forces, and that launch was repulsed.
AFRL plans to experiment with the satellite in geosynchronous orbit for one year testing of PNT signals and architectures, as well as terrestrial control and management systems and software-defined radio stations. After testing, NTS-3 will be transferred to the US space force and integrated into other PNT capabilities of the service.
In February 2020, L3Harris Technologies went through the preliminary review of the NTS-3 project. NTS-3 is the main contractor of the project.