Science and Technology News

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

VIDEO: TacSat-4 Encapsulation Time-Lapse

By Carla Voorhees

In the time-lapse video below, the Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) Tactical Satellite IV (TacSat-4) is encapsulated inside the fairing (nose cone) of an Orbital Sciences Corporation Minotaur-IV+ launch vehicle in preparation for a Sept. 27, 2011, launch from the Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s Kodiak Launch Complex.

You can watch the TacSat-4 launch live this morning,  Sept 27, 2011, between 11:49 am and 12:56 pm EDT by visiting

TacSat-4 is a Navy-led joint mission which provides 10 Ultra High Frequency channels and allows troops using existing radios to communicate on-the-move from obscured regions without the need for dangerous antenna positioning and pointing. To augment current geosynchronous satellite communication, the TacSat-4 spacecraft will be deployed into a unique, highly elliptical orbit with an apogee in the high latitudes of 12,050 kilometers.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsored the development of the payload and the first year of operations. The Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office funded the launch that is managed by the Space Development and Test Directorate, a directorate of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC).

The spacecraft bus was built by NRL and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to mature ORS bus standards. It was developed by an Integrated (government and industry) System Engineering Team, the “ISET Team,” with active representation from AeroAstro, Air Force Research Laboratory, Johns Hopkins Laboratory APL, ATK Space, Ball Aerospace and Technologies, Boeing, Design Net Engineering, General Dynamics AIS, Microcosm, Microsat Systems Inc., Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Orbital Sciences, NRL, SMC, Space System Loral, and Raytheon. The Department of Defense Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering funded the standardized spacecraft bus.

TacSat-4 will be the 100th NRL built satellite launched into a celestial orbit.

For more NRL videos, visit

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