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Chapter 11


Instantaneous worldwide communications, connecting all nations, has been a dream of

mankind for ages. Until the development of technologies to build, launch and operate
artificial earth satellites, specifically communications satellites, the means to make such
connections was unavailable. Through communications satellites, it is now possible to
access telephone, telegraph, instant news information and computer links around the
globe. This global connectivity provides military commanders with the ability to exercise
nearly on-scene command and control. Communication satellite systems and uses
continue to develop rapidly.

HISTORY Pierce, unaware of Clarke’s article 10

years earlier, elaborated on the utility of
One of the most remarkable prophe- communications “mirrors” in space: a
cies of the twentieth century was pub- medium-orbit “repeater” and a 24-hour
lished in the magazine Wireless World in orbit “repeater.” Pierce compared the
1945. In a short article, “Extra- communications capacity of a satellite,
Terrestrial Relays,” British scientist and estimated to be 1,000 simultaneous tele-
fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke described phone calls, and the communications ca-
the use of, in 24-hour orbits positioned pacity of the first transatlantic telephone
above the world’s land masses, to pro- cable (TAT-1), which could carry 36 si-
vide global communications (Fig. 11-1). multaneous telephone calls. Since the
cable cost $30-50 million, Pierce won-
Clarke stated: dered if a satellite
would be worth a bil-
“An artificial satellite lion dollars.
at the correct distance
from the earth could make Communications by
one revolution every 24 Moon Relay
hours, i.e., it would remain
stationary above the same The U.S. Navy be-
spot and would be within gan conducting experi-
optical range of nearly half ments in 1954 bouncing
of the earth's surface. radio signals off of the
Three repeater stations, moon. These experi-
120 degrees apart in the ments led to the world's
correct orbit, could give first operational space
television and microwave communications sys-
coverage to the entire Fig. 11-1. Clarke Orbit tem, called Communi-
planet.” cation by Moon Relay
(CMR) (Fig. 11-2), The relay was used
Clarke’s theory made little impact un- between 1959 and 1963 to link Hawaii
til John R. Pierce of AT&T’s Bell Labo- and Washington, DC.
ratories evaluated the various technical In 1957, the Soviet Union launched
options and financial prospects of satel- the world’s first artificial satellite,
lite communications. In a 1954 speech Sputnik I. This sparked great interest and
followed by an article published in 1955, speculation, as many began to consider

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communications satellites. The success of
Echo I had more to do with the motivations
of following communications satellite
research than any other single event.”

The Echo I spacecraft was a 100-ft.

diameter balloon made of aluminized
polyester. It was inflated after being put
into a 800-900 nautical mile orbit. Radio
waves could be reflected off of the
Fig. 11-2. Communications by smooth aluminum surface.
Moon Relay Echo demonstrated satellite tracking
and ground station technology that would
the benefits, profits and prestige later be used in active systems. After
associated with satellite communications. Echo II was launched on 25 January
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, 1964, NASA abandoned passive commu-
NASA began experimenting with passive nications systems in favor of the superior
(reflector) communications satellites such performance of active satellites.
as Project Echo. About the same time, In 1961, three active satellite programs
the Department of Defense, with were started under contract to and with
ADVENT program, worked to develop cooperation of NASA. Two were for me-
active (or “repeater”) satellites that dium-orbit satellites and one for a 24-hour-
amplify the received signal at the orbit “repeater.” The programs culmi-
satellite. nated in the 1962 launch of two medium-
NASA launched Echo 1 on 12 August orbit satellites, TELSTAR and RELAY,
1960 (Fig. 11-3). Leonard Jaffe, the and the 1963 launch of SYNCOM, the
director of the communications program first 24-hour orbit (geostationary) satellite.
Meanwhile, the military program to
build a geostationary satellite (ADVENT)
was experiencing delays in launcher
availability and cost over-runs. There-
fore, and also in light of the complexity
of the satellite, the program was can-
The first operational military satellite
communications system began five years
later and was comprised of two Initial
Defense Communications Satellite Program
(IDSCP) satellites, which were launched
in July 1967. These satellites were de-
Fig. 11-3. Echo I Satellite signed to launch in groups of up to eight,
and a total of 26 IDSCP satellites were
launched in four groups to near geosta-
NASA Headquarters, wrote: tionary, 18,300 statute mile orbits. The
IDSCP evolved into what is today’s De-
“Numerous experiments were fense Satellite Communications System
conducted with Echo I in the early months (DSCS). The IDSCP satellites are often
involving practically all of the types of referred to as DSCS Phase I.
communications. Echo I not only proved In February 1969, the IDSCP was fol-
that microwave transmission to and from lowed by the Tactical Satellite Communi-
satellites in space was understood and cations (TACSATCOM) program. This
there would be no surprises but it program was used to evaluate mobile
dramatically demonstrated the promise of user needs in tactical situations. One

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TACSATCOM satellite was placed in
geostationary orbit to support the Tactical
Communications Program. The
TACSATCOM would become the Fleet
Satellite Communications (FLTSATCOM)


Continuous global coverage from a

medium altitude satellite orbit (200-
10,000 NM above the earth) would re-
quire from 18 to 24 satellites. Full global
coverage between 70O North latitude and
70O South latitude can theoretically be
achieved using three equally spaced
(120O apart) geostationary satellites. Op-
erationally, four or more satellites are
required to provide this coverage in order
to mitigate the effects of a satellite failure
on our networks. Four satellites provide
overlapping capabilities, greater traffic
nuclear forces as well as between other The U.S. Navy's NAVSOC at Pt.
high-priority users. High priority users Mugu, CA performs Command and Con-
include the White House Communica- trol (C2) of FLTSAT and UHF F/O con-
tions Agency, reconnaissance aircraft, stellations under the Operational Control
Air Intelligence Agency and ground (OPCON) of Naval Space Command
forces (e.g., Special Operations Forces). (NAVSPACECOM).
FLTSATCOM operates primarily in
the UHF band, but3c4raft,
bital positions as FLTSATCOM (two waiver has been granted. DAMA is a
UHF F/Os at each FLTSAT location). modified time sharing technique to allow
The Navy owns the FLTSATCOM and more users to share the same UHF
channel, 5 KHz or 25 KHz.


Fig. 11-5. UHF Follow-on (UHF F/O) The DSCS is a general-purpose satel-
lite communications system operating in
UHF F/O systems and is responsible for the Super-high Frequency (SHF) spec-
the system configurations and for their trum. The system is comprised of geo-
communications support to all services. synchronous satellites, a variety of
The main mission of UHF F/O is to sup- ground terminals and a control segment.
port global communications to Naval It provides secure voice, teletype, televi-
forces. UHF F/O provides channels to sion, facsimile and digital data services
replace the 5 KHz narrow-band channels for the Global Command and Control
previously available on FLTSATCOM and System (GCCS). The system also pro-
replaces the 500 KHz DOD wide-band vides communications links for manage-
channel with an appropriate number of 5 ment, command and control, intelligence
and 25 KHz channels. UHF F/O does not and early warning functions.
replace the regenerative, frequency- The primary users of the DSCS are
hopped 5 KHz channels serving the EAM GCCS, Defense Information Systems Net-
dissemination and nuclear reporting mis- work (DISN), Defense Switched Network
sion of AFSATCOM. The Milstar sys- (DSN), Defense Message System (DMS),
tem and the EHF transponders on UHF Diplomatic Telecommunications Service
F/O fulfill these latter requirements. (DTS), Ground Mobile Forces (GMF) and
Each UHF F/O has 18 channels of 25 the White House Communications Agency
KHz bandwidth and 21 channels of 5 (WHCA). DSCS also supports allied na-
KHz bandwidth; essentially doubling the tions.
FLTSATCOM capability. Since there Several types of ground terminals are
are two satellites at each orbital position, in use. The Air Force and Navy are re-
78 UHF channels will be available over sponsible for airborne and shipborne ter-
the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean minals, respectively. The strategic ter-
regions as well as CONUS. There are no minals, AN/FSC-78, AN/GSC-39 and
500 KHz wide-band channels on UHF AN/GSC-52 are maintained and operated
F/O. Flights four through ten have EHF by the Army, Air Force and Navy, de-
transponders for use by Milstar ground pending on their location. These large
terminals. Flights eight through ten also terminals are equipped with 60-ft or 38-ft
carry EHF Ka band transponders for use diameter, high-gain parabolic dish anten-
by the Global Broadcast Service (GBS) nas, have power outputs on the order of
to broadcast missile warning, intelli- 10,000 watts and are capable of process-
gence, video and imagery data to tactical ing thousands of voice channels. Other
units. terminals include Tactical Satellite
All UHF F/Os are Electromagnetic (TACSAT) terminals used by the Ground
Pulse (EMP) protected. Although each Mobile Forces (GMF). Owned by the
channel can relay signals from all current Army and Marine Corps, these terminals
military UHF SATCOM radios (those consist of the AN/TSC-93B, with an 8 ft
that do not require processed channels), dish antenna, and the AN/TSC-85B with
the JCS requires all UHF SATCOM an 8 or 20 ft dish antenna. The Air Force
radios operate in the Demand Assigned TACSAT terminals are the AN/TSC-
Multiple Access (DAMA) mode unless a 94A, with an 8 ft. dish antenna, and the

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AN/TSC-100A, with both the 8 and 20 ft. (EIRP) required to meet specified link
dish antennas. The TACSAT terminals quality. The control segment optimizes
are housed in shelters that can be trans- the network configuration for the FDMA,
ported by HMMWV (TSC-93B & TSC- TDMA and SSMA operations. It also
94A), 2 ½ ton or 5 ton truck (TSC-85B) responds to jammers and generates
or mobilizers (TSC-100A). command sets to configure the satellite
Other special user terminals controlled and processes telemetry from the
by the JCS include the AN/TSC-86 satellites.
DSCS standard light terminal and the
Jam Resistant Secure Communications DSCS Space Segment
(JRSC) terminal, AN/GSC-49. Both
terminals are deployed with 8 as well as DSCS evolved in three phases
20 ft dish antennas. starting with the IDSCP satellites as
Some smaller terminals have only a Phase I (sometimes called DSCS I).
single link capability (e.g., AN/TSC-93), Phase II began in 1971 with the launch of
whereas others are able to transmit as two DSCS II satellites (Fig. 11-6) into
many as 9 links (carriers) and can receive geostationary orbit. The third phase
12 links (e.g., AN/FSC-78). The capacity
of each link can vary from 1 to 96 voice
circuits or digital data at rates from sev-
eral kilobits per second to greater than 10
MPS. Currently, both Frequency Divi-
sion Multiple Access (FDMA) and Spread
Spectrum Multiple Access (SSMA) are
used, with some terminals having both
types of equipment. During Operation
Desert Storm, over 100 TACSAT termi-
nals were deployed to Saudi Arabia and
provided more than 80% of the commu-
nications. Fig. 11-6. DSCS II Satellite
Each of the five operational and spare
satellites has a primary and alternate
network control station located at major began in 1982 with the launch of the first
nodes such as Ft. Detrick, Maryland. DSCS III satellite.
The DSCS control segment allocates The constellation today (Fig. 11-7)
satellite capacity to best serve user consists of five primary DSCS III satel-
requirements. Control segment computer lites and five residual “spares” with lim-
algorithms provide an allocation process ited operational capabilities. The satel-
that makes use of the considerable lites are at an altitude of approximately
flexibility of the DSCS III satellites. 22,300 miles in geostationary orbits
This flexibility includes the antenna around the equator. All ten satellites are
patterns and connectivities and also in continuous 24-hour operations with the
involves precise calculations of the spares primarily used for GMF training
Effective Isotropic Radiated Power missions.

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Fig. 11-7. DSCS III Notional Constellation

In addition to the DSCS III satellites,

there are some DSCS II satellites (turned
off) still in orbit that could be activated,
on a limited basis, at any time. The
DSCS II satellite located over the Indian
Ocean is still active and used for training
The five primary DSCS III satellites
provide overlapping footprints for
worldwide communications between 70O
North latitude and 70O South latitude.
Communications beyond these latitudes
becomes very weak due to earth’s flatten-
ing in the vicinity of the poles. Heavy
terminals, such as the FSC-78 with the
Figure 12-8. M-Hop
large 60 foot antenna, could access a
DSCS III satellite from some locations
above 70O North or below 70O South lati-
tude. The five satellite constellation of
DSCS allows most earth terminal loca-
tions to access at least two satellites.
Key sites around the world are
equipped with two earth terminals, each
accessing a different satellite. These dual Fig. 11-9. DSCS III
terminal sites allow the signal from one
satellite to be retransmitted to another, DSCS III Satellite
extending the distance beyond one satel-
lite’s coverage area. This is called an The DSCS III spacecraft (Fig. 11-9)
“M-hop” (Fig. 11-8). M-hops make is a three-axis, momentum stabilized
communications between opposite sides vehicle with an on-orbit weight of about
of the planet possible. 2,350 pounds. The spacecraft's
rectangular body is 6 x 6 x 7 cubed feet,
with a 38 foot span (with solar arrays
deployed). The solar arrays generate
1,100 watts, decreasing to 837 watts after

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five years. The communications payload
aboard each satellite provides a wide-
band spectrum of 1000 MHz (500 MHz
uplink and 500 MHz downlink) that is
divided into six channels by six limited
bandwidth transponders (Table 11-1).
Four of the six channels/transponders can
be switched by ground command
between a number of antennas consisting
will be changed to allow connection to pand into 18. The terminal can transmit
the Gimbaled Dish Antenna (GDA). up to approximately 2,600 watts by com-
bining the four 650 watt transmitters.
DSCS Ground Segment The heavy class terminal, FSC-78, is
electrically the same as the GSC-39 with
The ground segment consists primarily the exception of the antenna and low
of three groups of earth terminals: noise amplifiers. The FSC-78 is
equipped with a 60–ft antenna (Fig. 11-
• The strategic terminals are the 11) that uses cryogenically cooled para-
medium and heavy class terminal metric amplifiers. Even though the
located at fixed stations maximum transmitter output of both ter-
• The TACSAT terminals are used by minals is the same, the maximum EIRP
the GMF and are deployed by the of the FSC-78 is far greater than that of
Army, Air Force and Marine Corps the GSC-39 due to the increased gain of
throughout the world
• Finally, the special user terminals
are the airborne and shipborne
terminals, the JRSC terminal and
the JCS controlled DSCS Standard
Light terminal.

The strategic terminals provide 24-

hour support to both DOD and non-DOD
users. These users include GCCS, DISN,
DSN, DMS and the DTS.
The medium class of the strategic
terminals consists of the AN/GSC-39 and
AN/GSC-52. Both terminals utilize a 38
foot antenna with redundant solid-state Fig. 11-11. FSC-78
low noise amplifiers. 60-ft Antenna
The AN/GSC-39 is capable of trans- the larger antenna.
mitting up to 18 individual carriers and
receiving as many as 30. It is equipped
with two 5,000 watt transmitters that can DSCS Ground Mobile Forces (GMF)
be combined for a total output of near
10,000 watts. GMF operate in their own sub-
network on the DSCS satellites. The
GMF sub-network is not operationally
compatible with the DSCS networks.
This is due to the incompatibility of the
GMF TACSAT terminal’s signal
processing equipment with that of the
DSCS strategic terminal. In order for the
GMF to gain access to the DSCS
network, a DSCS Gateway terminal must
be used.
A DSCS Gateway terminal is a
strategic terminal with a complement of
Fig. 11-10. AN/GSC-52 signal processing equipment used by the
The AN/GSC-52, a state-of-the-art TACSAT terminals. The signal from the
Medium Terminal (SAMT) (Fig. 11-10) GMF network is processed to its lowest
comes equipped to transmit and receive form by this equipment and then
up to 12 carriers with the ability to ex- reprocessed by the DSCS signal

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processing equipment for retransmission The Army and Marine Corps’ Non-
in the DSCS network. nodal terminal is the TSC-93B, which is
A GMF network consists of at least equipped with one 500-watt transmitter
two TACSAT terminals, each transmit- and can transmit and receive only one
ting one carrier which is received by the carrier. It is housed in a shelter
other. The TACSAT terminals are classi- transported on a HMMWV and is
fied in one of two categories: Nodal or deployed with an 8-ft antenna.
Non-nodal. Nodal terminals (AN/TSC- The Air Force nodal terminal is the
85B and AN/TSC-100A) have the ability TSC-100A, which is similar to the TSC-
to transmit one carrier and receive up to 85B. The TSC-100A is equipped with
four. Non-nodal terminals (AN/TSC- two higher power transmitters that can be
93B and AN/TSC-94A) can transmit and combined for a total output power of
receive only one carrier. Each carrier has approximately 1,800 watts. It is capable
the capacity of up to 96 telephone calls or of transmitting and receiving up to four
10 MPS of data. Links with more than carriers and is deployed with both an 8
32 telephone circuits or a data rate and 20-ft antenna. These antennas allow
greater than 3 MPS are far too difficult to the TSC-100A to access two satellites
support with the small 8 and 20-ft anten- simultaneously. It is housed in a modified
nas and are rarely used. S-280 shelter transported on mobilizers.
There are three basic GMF network The TSC-94A is the Air Force’s Non-
configurations. The simplest consists of nodal terminal which is equipped much
two terminals, each transmitting one car- like the TSC-93B, except for the two
rier received by the other. This is called 500-watt transmitters and other
a “Point-to-point” configuration. Any equipment redundancy. It also deploys
combination of Nodal or Non-nodal ter- with only the 8-ft antenna and is housed
minals can be used. One terminal could in a shelter transported on a HMMWV.
be a DSCS Gateway terminal, while the
other two configurations are called “Hub- DSCS Control Segment
spoke” and “Mesh.”
The Hub-spoke configuration consists The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
of a Nodal terminal as the “Hub” and up has primary responsibility for DSCS with
to four “spokes” that can be Nodal, Non- USCINCSPACE having Satellite Opera-
nodal or DSCS Gateway terminals. In the tions Manager (SOM) responsibilities as
Hub-spoke configuration, the hub terminal defined in CJCSI 6250.01. The Defense
transmits one carrier that is received by Information Systems Agency (DISA) is
all four spokes. In turn, each spoke the DSCS SATCOM System Expert
transmits one carrier back to the hub. (SSE), and network manager, and exe-
A Mesh configuration is a combina- cutes DSCS command and control in
tion of two or more hub-spoke configura- support of the Global and Regional
tions that are linked together. If a Nodal SATCOM Support Centers (GSSC,
terminal is used as one of the spokes in a RSSC). DISA is a DOD agency that re-
hub-spoke configuration, three additional ports directly to the Chairman of Joint
terminals could be added as spokes to Chiefs of Staff and the Assistant Secre-
this terminal to create a mesh. tary of Defense for C3I. The DISA mis-
The TSC-85B is the nodal terminal sion is to develop, test, manage, acquire,
used by the Army and Marine Corps. implement, operate and maintain infor-
This terminal is equipped with two mation systems for C4I and mission sup-
redundant 500-watt transmitters and port under all conditions of peace and
equipment to transmit one and receive up war. The DISA core mission areas in-
to four carriers. It is deployed with either clude:
an 8 or 20-ft antenna, and is housed in a
modified S-250 shelter transported on a 2 • Global Command and Control Sys-
½-ton or 5-ton truck. tem (GCCS). An information sys-

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tem designed to support deliberate time monitoring and control for the
and crisis planning with the use of DSCS and GMF networks. They also
an integrated set of analytical tools perform payload control, which involves
and flexible data transfer capabili- making changes to transponder and
ties. It will become the single C4I antenna configuration.
system to support the warfighter, JCS, as specified in CJCSI 6250.01,
foxhole to command post. validates all DOD and non-DOD
• Defense Information Systems Net- MILSATCOM requirements, apportions
work (DISN). A program for the resource capacity, approves satellite re-
graceful technology evolution from positioning and resolves conflicts.
the use of DOD networks and sys- USSPACECOM, for the JCS, provides
tems to the use of commodity ser- operational direction along two paths.
vices wherever possible. It re- USCINCSPACE is responsible for
places DSNET and supports DSN, assuring access to, and use of, space for
SIPRNET, NIPRNET and FTS 2000 the U.S. and its allies and for operating
(Fed Telecomm System). DISN also Joint Staff designated space systems in
provides information transport ser- support of U.S. and allied military forces.
vices for voice, text and imagery. USCINCSPACE is also the principal
• Defense Message Service (DMS). space advocate and advisor to the CJCS.
A program geared towards reducing Responsibilities include:
cost and staffing while maintaining
existing levels of service and secu- • Assessing the worldwide impact of
rity for DOD messages. Its goal is proposed satellite movements
for secure, accountable and reliable • Providing recommendations to the
writer to reader messaging for the CJCS
warfighter at reduced cost. • Providing a space assessment to
• Global Combat Support System DISA and the Joint Staff based on
(GCSS). GCSS uses GCCS as a MILSATCOM requirements as
baseline. It is a strategy to inte- documented in the Satellite
grate existing combat support sys- Database (SDB).
tems to gain effi-
ciency/interoperability in support- USCINCSPACE provides operational
ing the warfighter. It will provide a command through its components in
fused, real-time combat support order to:
view of the battlespace, eliminating
stove-piped systems by achieving a • Operate and maintain the Mission
common operating environment Control Centers (MCCs)
(COE). • Execute tracking, station-keeping
and ephemeris generation
DSCS launch, on-orbit operations (sta- • Execute satellite movements as di-
tion-keeping), telemetry analysis, tracking rected by the CJCS.
data for orbit determination and com-
manding of on-board subsystems is the USCINCSPACE provides operational
responsibility of the 3SOPS. 3SOPS is a command through USARSPACE in order
component of the 50th Operations Group, to:
50th SW at Schriever AFB, Colorado.
Under USARSPACE, the 1st Satellite • Operate and maintain all DSCSOCs
Control (SATCON) Battalion mission is • Provide personnel resources to
to provide communications network ensure network and payload control
control for the DSCS. The 1st SATCON • Operate and maintain GSSC and
Battalion operates and maintains five RSSC's and for GMFSC network
DSCS Operations Centers (DSCSOCs) planning and coordination
worldwide. The DSCSOCs provide real-

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DISA Code DOT provides technical The CSPE determines the mission’s sat-
direction through the GSSC and RSSC's ellite communications requirements and
in order to: develops a Satellite Access Request
(SAR) for the RSSC.
• Direct network and payload control
executed by the DSCSOCs The SAR consists of the following:
• Direct station keeping and move-
ments executed by the MCCs • Who, When, What, Where and
The RSSCs, through coordination, • Unit and Mission, date/time, data
will: rate, terminal types and location,
• Obtain satellite-engineering pa- network configuration and priority
rameters to be used for resource al-
location to the GMFSC and assis- The RSSC will:
tance in resolving conflicts from
the DISA. • Coordinate with DISA for re-
• Receive and process satellite access sources to support the SAR
requests from the CINCs for • Perform network planning with pa-
GMFSC access and provide satel- rameters given by DISA if the SAR
lite access authorizations. can be supported.
• Develop Satellite Access Authori-
DSCS Access zation (SAA) with the satellite,
look angles, power, frequency and
Access to the DSCS satellites is controller.
accomplished differently depending on
whether the user desires the DSCS The SAA is sent to the originating
network and the GMF network. For CSPE, DISA and the controller. The
DSCS network access, the following is a CSPE produces deployment orders and
summary of the process: configuration sheets for terminals while
DISA directs the controlling DSCSOC to
1) Users identify their requirements. update their operational database.
2) Users submit their requirements to Finally, 30 minutes prior to the mission
their respective CINC. start time, the controller contacts the
3) The CINC’s J6 will coordinate with terminals and directs access to the
the GSSC, applicable RSSC and satellite.
DISA for the required resources.
4) DISA will engineer the link pa- MILSTAR
rameters to support the require-
ments. The information is passed Milstar provides highly robust, secure
to the DSCS Ops Centers where the and survivable communications among
Network Controllers add/subtract/ fixed-site and mobile terminals. The
monitor the entire net. name “Milstar” originated as the acro-
5) The user is informed of the circuit nym for Military Strategic and Tactical
design (power/bandwidth/times of Relay satellite system. In the early ‘90’s
usage). the acronym was adopted as the system
6) Communication stays open between name, and is therefore not written in capi-
all parties to assure the warfighters’ tal letters. The MILSATCOM Joint Pro-
needs are met. gram Office manages Milstar at the
Space and Missile Systems Center, Los
For GMF access, the tactical user re- Angeles AFB, California.
ceives mission tasking and begins the Originally, Milstar was required to
planning process with the Communica- provide assured connectivity through all
tions Systems Planning Element (CSPE). levels of conflict for strategic nuclear and

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strategic defense forces. The Milstar Low
Data Rate (LDR) payload was designed
to meet this requirement, and each of
three Services developed LDR terminals
to use the Milstar LDR payload. How-
ever, in the National Defense Authoriza-
tion Act for FY91, Congress requested
the DOD to restructure the Milstar sys-
tem to reduce cost, increase the utility of
the system to tactical users, and eliminate
the most enduring nuclear warfighting
capabilities. The DOD responded by re-
ducing the number of large strategic ter-
minals and increasing the number of
smaller tactical terminals. Other changes
included the elimination of the most du-
rable nuclear survivable capabilities for
satellites and terminals and the addition
of a Medium Data Rate (MDR) capability
on satellite 3 and beyond, to support tac-
tical users.
Operating primarily in the Extremely
High Frequency (EHF) and Super High
Frequency (SHF) bands, Milstar satisfies
the U.S. military’s communications re-
quirements with worldwide, anti-jam,
scintillation resistant, Low Proba3205 410.4001 Tm0 1thesa0.29e7-0.0135 Tc 0.6835 Tw 12 , anj1470 0 1
Terminal Segment consistently provide it in a time frame
that allows the warfighter to act within
The Terminal Segment includes fixed the decision cycle time of the adversary.
and mobile ground terminals, ship and The amount of time to transmit a single
submarine terminals and airborne termi- Air Tasking Order (ATO) over Milstar
nals. The Army, Navy and Air Force are LDR is in excess of one hour. Milstar
developing and procuring terminals that MDR, at a full T1 data rate, requires
are inter-operable. close to 6 seconds (Fig. 11-13). GBS,
The 4SOPS, a component of the 50th even with the limiting factor of current
Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, encryption equipment, transmits the data
Schriever AFB, is responsible for overall in less than one half second.
command and control of the Milstar sat- Additionally, because it is a broadcast
ellite constellation. The 4SOPS executes stream of data, it can send to many small
these responsibilities through the Milstar receivers simultaneously.
Operations Center (MOC) at Schriever
AFB, Mobile Constellation Control Sta- GBS High Capacity Data Dissemination
tions (MCCSs) and the Milstar Support (JWID 96)
Facility (MSF). MOC personnel located
512 Kbps 1.4 Mbps 23 Mbps*
in the Operations Building at Schriever SATCOM 2.4 Kbps 56 Kbps
AFB, perform satellite command and
control, communications resource man- ATO 1.02 2.61 17.09 5.7 0.38
1.1 MB Hrs Min Sec Sec Sec
agement, systems engineering support,
mission planning and anomaly resolution Tomahawk 100 4.29 0.47 0.16 0.01
for the Milstar system. The MOC has MDU 0.03 MB Sec Sec Sec Sec Sec

two fixed CCSs which interface with the 8x10 Imagery 22.2 57 6.25 2.07 8.4
geographically distributed Mobile CCSs, 23 MB Hrs Min Min Min Sec
to execute satellite command and control.
The Milstar Support Facility personnel, DS TPFDD 9.65 9.92 1.09 21.59 1.45
also located in the Operations Building, 250 MB Days Hrs Hrs Min Min

perform ground control maintenance and * Currently limited to 12 Mbps encrypter rates
testing, and hardware and software con- Fig. 11-13 Capacity Comparison
figuration control.
Another unique benefit of GBS is that it
GLOBAL BROADCAST SERVICE can transmit to relatively small, phased
(GBS) array receive antennas mounted on
mobile platforms. This provides the
The Global Broadcast Service (GBS) capability to send imagery or other large
is based on technology of the commercial file products in real-time to aircraft, ships
TV industry to broadcast one-way, very and vehicles in motion.
large streams of data (or video) to large The GBS program leveraged
numbers of small receiver antennas Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS),
simultaneously. The need for a Government Off The Shelf (GOTS)
worldwide, high throughput broadcast technology and Non-Developmental
system became evident during the Gulf Items (NDI) to facilitate faster system
War. Service-owned and leased acquisition and fielding. Additionally,
commercial communications channels the acquisition was divided into three
were so overwhelmed that crucial phases.
information such as maps and GBS Phase I is a continuation of a
intelligence data had to be airlifted to the Concept of Operations (CONOPS)
warfighter. GBS was initiated as the testbed initially placed in service by the
program to fill that need. The GBS is National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
intended to provide a large quantity of The testbed is operated by DISA and
broadcast data to the warfighter, and managed by USSPACECOM. It employs

AU Space Primer August 2003

11 - 14
a single over-CONUS leased commercial beams. Two of the spot beams provide
Ku band satellite transponder and is used 500 nm nadir footprints while the third
to support operational military provides a 2000 nm nadir footprint. Fig.
broadcasts, exercises and to integrate 11-14 shows representative GBS Phase II
system lessons learned into GBS Phase spot beam footprints. The beams can be
II. shifted from one edge of the coverage to
GBS Phase II establishes an interim the opposite edge in approximately three
operational capability using GBS minutes.
transponder packages hosted on UHF GBS Phase III will further evolve the
F/O satellites 8, 9, and 10. Each of these capabilities of GBS beyond the 2005
GBS transponder packages has two 30 timeframe.
GHz (K band) uplink antennas and three
20.2-21.2 GHz (Ka band) downlink spot

19.5 Mbps

Military Satellite Communications Handbook Volume II, Air Force Space Command
Directorate of Requirements, 2 January 1996

Defense Satellite Communication System Fact Sheet, 50thSW, May 1999

munications System Fact Sheet, Air Force Space Command, November 1999
GBS Joint Program Office --

AU Space Primer August 2003

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