Application of the Terrestar satellite constellation to the global initiative for tracking special and nonproliferation material
Carcich, Andrew L.
Camarena, Richard M.
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In an era distinguished by innovative communication technologies capable of linking with geosynchronous satellites, while being small enough to fit into a pocket of clothing, the modern battlefield commander and warfighter can know the precise location of surrounding friendly forces. This concept of communication involving satellites provides for a new tier of situational awareness in combat and noncombat environments, dating as far back as the Persian Gulf War. This tool altered the command and control element by improving the knowledge and certainty that this capability provided. Recent studies and experiments have demonstrated the applicability of these military systems to civil service as well. Space based situational awareness provide capabilities such as continuous over-the-horizon communications and position reporting of friendly assets. These capabilities have been available since the Persian Gulf War. System limitations include a lack of real-time image, terrain masking, and security. Until recently, the devices used for Friendly Force Tracking have been devices that rely on National Technical Means. However, the recent trend is to use commercially available technology to enable tracking of both friendly and enemy forces. This technology ranges from the use of GPS equipped cell phones to satellites in LEO such as Iridium and GlobalStar. Terrestar is a new company specializing in space technology and wireless communication devices. Additionally, TerreStar wireless communication devices are designed to use both cellular and satellite networks. This feature provides a redundant tracking method not otherwise available. This study includes an investigation into Terrestar tracking devices used to locate and monitor the position and movement of friendly forces.
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