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US Army-Built Nanosatellite Seeks to Provide Voice, Data Communications to Remote Area-based Soldiers

CubeSatThe U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Army Forces Strategic Command have developed a nanosatellite constellation designed to provide beyond-line-of-sight voice and data communications to uniformed personnel assigned in remote areas, the Army reported Monday.

Jason B. Cutshaw writes the 5-kilogram cube satellite, dubbed SNaP, has multifunctional relay components, propulsion functions and solar-based deployable arrays for charging batteries.

“Providing the ability for our warfighter to communicate in an environment where traditional SATCOM is unavailable can literally be the difference between life and death,” said Thomas E. Webber, director of Technical Center Space and Strategic Systems Directorate at SMDC.

Webber noted that the SNaP platform is intended for soldiers to perform data exfiltration activities and use tactical radios to communicate in disadvantaged locations.

SMDC is slated to launch three SNaP nanosatellites into low-Earth orbit this year, Cutshaw reports.

The service branch is also assessing other nanosatellite platforms with the U.S. Southern Command, the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and other Defense Department agencies as part of the SNaP Joint Capability Technology Demonstration project, according to the report.

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