During FY 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) engaged in a wide variety of aerospace activities. In terms of environmental monitoring, the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), a tri-agency program of NASA, DoD, and the Department of Commerce (DoC) that converges the DoD and DOC/NOAA polar-orbiting weather satellite programs, continued to progress. In FY 2001, the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO) extended the two Program-Definition and Risk-Reduction (PDRR) contracts by 6 months and down-selected development contract awards for all remaining major sensors. The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP), an IPO/NASA joint mission to provide a crucial early-flight and risk-reduction opportunity for several major NPOESS sensors, also continued to progress in FY 2001. The PDRR contractors each held several promising early demonstrations of system concepts and designs to accommodate the planned 2005 NPP mission launch.
DoD, NASA, NOAA, and other Federal agencies continued to make good progress in FY 2001 on implementing activities for the Space Weather Architecture Transition Plan. DoD participated in a new NASA initiative, Living with a Star, a systems approach to studies of Sun-Earth connections. In 2001, DoD participated fully in the LWS Science Architecture Team to help develop a definition of the LWS program. The objectives of LWS connect the scientific understanding of the Sun-Earth system with an ultimate operational forecasting capability, a major DoD concern.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-M spacecraft was launched successfully on July 23, 2001. This DoD/NOAA/NASA spacecraft continued a series of capabilities in weather imagery and sounding data to support operational weather forecasting and meteorological research. New on this mission was the DoD/NOAA/NASA-sponsored Solar X-ray Imager, the first operational instrument for monitoring x rays that originate in the atmosphere of the Sun. Solar forecasters now get a real-time downlink of images that helps them make more accurate predictions of geomagnetic storms on Earth. Some affected activities and impacts that benefit from these forecasts are GPS navigation errors, radio communication blackouts, radiation danger to high-flying crews and passengers, and interruptions to satellite operations.
Regarding the highly protected SatCom systems, Milstar Flight 4 was launched from the Eastern Range during February 2001. This was the first successful medium data rate EHF satellite on orbit for the DoD.
In the area of positioning and navigation, two Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR satellites were launched and subsequently declared operational. At the end of the fiscal year, the GPS constellation consisted of a total of 28 satellites providing unprecedented levels of accuracy in support of national security, as well as worldwide transportation safety, scientific, and commercial interests. Development efforts continued on the GPS modernization program to add new military signals (known as the M-code) to Block IIR and IIF satellites, a second civil signal on IIR satellites, and a third civil signal (L5) on IIF satellites. As the first step in a major effort over the next several years to modernize GPS to enhance its ability to meet both military and civil needs for the foreseeable future, System Architecture and Requirements Development (SA/RD) contracts were awarded to Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The yearlong SA/RD contracts, also called Concept Exploration, are intended to evaluate military and civil utility, as well as define the system performance trade space for the subsequent phases of GPS III development.
As part of the DoD restructure of its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, DoD sought and won congressional approval of a Heavy Lift Vehicle demonstration launch as a risk-reduction step. Launch was scheduled for 2003.
In the areas of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, the Space- Based Infrared System (SBIRS) made progress toward fielding the follow-on system to the Nations Defense Support Program (DSP) missile launch early warning satellites. SBIRS is fielded in three increments. The technical difficulties in 1999 that had set back the transition to a new mission control station were resolved. Increment 1 consolidated the DSPs overseas ground stations, located in Europe and Australia, with the old U.S. ground station into a single mission control station located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. The overseas sites were replaced with minimally staffed relay ground stations in order to realize savings in staffing, operations, and maintenance. The addition of the SBIRS high component, also known as "SBIRS Increment 2," has encountered difficulties, however, and first launch will probably be slipped from FY 2005 to FY 2007. The Highly Elliptical Orbit sensor payload and the mobile multimission processors both passed successful critical design reviews, paving the way to begin fabrication of HEO flight payloads and SBIRS mobile ground stations. The DoD has also continued with the risk-reduction and program definition phase for SBIRS low.
The DoD Space Test Program (STP) teamed again with NASA in launching the Kodiak Star mission on an Athena I launch vehiclethe first orbital launch out of Kodiak Island, Alaska. In addition to NASA's Starshine III spacecraft, this mission included three small DoD spacecraft (PICOSat, PCSat, and Sapphire) which tested a variety of new space technologies, including flexible polymer batteries, ionospheric occultation measurements, and advanced command and control techniques. At the end of the fiscal year, STP and the Naval Research Laboratory were progressing well toward the 2002 Titan II launch of Coriolis, a risk-reduction effort for NPOESS, acquired under NASAs Rapid Satellite Acquisition process. STP awarded a contract to Spectrum Astro to build and launch the Communication/Navigation Outage Forecasting System mission, which will test the ability to forecast communications outages due to ionospheric scintillation. STP teamed with the Air Force Research Laboratorys Space Vehicles Directorate to develop a secondary payload adapter ring for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), which can host up to six 400-pound micro satellites. STP also worked closely with NASA and the U.S. Navy on the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer/Indian Ocean Meteorology and Oceanography Imager project.
STP had two successful Shuttle/ISS missions in FY 2001 as well. STS-105 delivered and successfully deployed the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) externally on the ISS. MISSE, a passive materials exposure experiment, is the first external experiment on ISS. In addition, STS-105 retrieved and returned MACE II (Middeck Active Control Experiment II) from the ISS. MACE II was the first experiment on ISS and was operated for nearly a year. Through the efforts of Commander Bill Shepherd and astronaut Susan Helms, Mace II surpassed all anticipated data results.
DoD continued to coordinate and oversee a wide array of space control initiatives spanning all four space control mission areas: surveillance of space; protection of space assets; prevention; and negation. Particular emphasis was placed on space surveillance programs leading to an approved modernization and investment strategy that will transform the existing surveillance network from a track-based system to a search-based system that will eventually be able to provide true space situational awareness. Plans were also made for a new Space Situational Awareness Integration Office within the Air Force Space Command to serve as an advocate for space surveillance and improve program management and collaboration among DoD components and other interested Government agencies. In the area of space system protection, the U.S. Space Command led an effort to develop a new analytic tool to assist decisionmakers in establishing protection priorities for space systems. The results of this effort will be used to help develop a Space Protection Roadmap that will ensure the availability of critical space capabilities during all levels of conflict. Research also continued on a number of space prevention and negation concepts in response to emerging DoD requirements.