The Space Environmental Effects Fusion System, or SEEFS, is an Air Force tool that is used to provide operators with the capability to specify, predict, and assess the impacts of the space environment on DoD systems. SEEFS characterizes the system impacts of solar radio bursts and ionospheric scintillation on communications as well as the impacts of the aurora and ionospheric scintillation on radars. Utilizing our background in space weather science and data collection, APL is providing an independent verification and validation (VnV) of this tool before it becomes operational at the Air Force Weather Agency.
With tremendous advances over the past decade in commercially available electronics, miniaturization techniques, and materials, an emerging class of small, lightweight “nanosatellites” promises to deliver rapid, low-cost access to space for a wide range of research and technology development purposes to meet the needs of our U.S. government sponsors. APL is currently developing a modular, flexible-use Multi-Mission Nanosatellite (MMN) platform and systems architecture for low-cost execution of critical space missions. To provide the required combination of high performance and reliability in a miniature satellite configuration, APL operates a broad multi-departmental team to develop innovative, high-quality solutions leveraging insight and experience across multiple engineering disciplines. The highly integrated vehicle design can stow away in an extremely small configuration virtually unnoticed aboard scheduled space launches.
APL, through a joint Laboratory, government, and industry team, provides systems engineering leadership to bridge the gap between experimental and operational spacecraft by developing mission-specialized spacecraft bus standards (i.e., the underlying spacecraft and chassis infrastructure). Subsequent validation of these standards in tactically relevant space experiments will be achieved through a Laboratory spacecraft bus prototype developed with the Naval Research Laboratory that will host the payload for the TacSat-4 mission. APL also is providing architecture and system implementation solutions to meet national security space user needs.
The Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS) will deliver an operational space-based system to address the ascent-phase midcourse tracking challenge facing U.S. ballistic missile defenses. To meet this objective, the Missile Defense Agency will develop the PTSS "System Baseline Design," which is composed of two spacecraft and the necessary ground system. This phase will be followed by production of additional PTSS spacecraft and the operational ground system. APL is assisting in the development of the System Baseline Design for the first two spacecraft to demonstrate the capability to address the ascent-phase midcourse tracking mission and to mitigate risk for acquisition of the production PTSS spacecraft.