from the swords-to-flying-swords dept.
Velcroman1 writes "At 11:49 a.m. EDT, a Minotaur IV+ rocket — essentially a decommissioned Peacekeeper missile built decades ago during the Cold War — launched the TacSat-4 satellite into orbit. Most troops today carry PRC-117 radios for communication, devices that rely on UHF transmissions. They relay calls and data back to a base station that's brought in and fixed in place, either set up on a hillside locally or carried overhead in a nearby plane. The TacSat-4 (or tactical microsatellite) lets the hundreds of thousands of military handheld radios currently in use communicate directly with an antenna orbiting in the most convenient spot imaginable: all that space overhead. 'If you're a mobile force, that requires a mobile infrastructure, the best place to put that infrastructure is in space,' said Dr. Larry Schuette, director of innovation for the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR)."
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