The Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) provides the United States with military communications to support globally distributed military users. DSCS will be replaced by the Wideband Global SATCOM system. A total of 14 DSCS III satellites were launched between the early 1980s and 2003. Two satellites were launched aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1985 during STS-51J. According to the USAF, in early 2008 most of the satellites were still working.
DSCS went though three major phases - IDCSP (Interim Defense Communication Satellite Program), DSCS- II, and DSCS-III. Since the first launch, DSCS has been the "workhorse" of military satellite communications. All DSCS III satellites have exceeded their 10-year design life.
The space vehicles were spin stabilized with a de-spun antenna platform. The body was mounted with solar cells which produced 535 watts. Three NiCd batteries provided electrical power and it was supported by a hydrazine propulsion subsystem.
The communications payload included two 20-watt X-band channels. The transponders were supported by steerable narrow beam antennas and drive mechanism for communications privacy.
The first DSCS II launch was in 1971.
- Lockheed Martin's Page on DSCS
- Federation of American Scientists - DSCS 3
- U.S. Air Force MILSATCOM - DSCS
- NASA JPL - DSCS
- Air Force - DSCS III
- NASA's National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) - Master Catalog - Spacecraft Query
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).|