The U.S. Air Force Space Command Space & Missile Systems Center’s Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., required a method of communication for the area 65,000 to 135,000 feet above the Earth, known as “near space.”
Air Force personnel found a solution in Space Data Corp. in Chandler, Ariz., to which it awarded a $49 million contract to provide a near-space communications system.
The Space Data system incorporates a balloon-borne platform that takes advantage of the predictable winds in near space to position communications equipment 20 miles above the Earth.
Equipped with global-positioning-system (GPS) technology and able to be launched from vehicles like Humvees, the system can provide communications capability over thousands of square miles.
The Near Space Communications System contract is a five-year “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” arrangement designed to enable the Space & Missile Systems Center to order equipment on an as-needed basis. Space Data will also train military personnel on the use of the system. For more information, visit www.spacedata.net.