Microsatellite launch delayed

The planned January debut of the Defense Department's first tactical microsatellite has been postponed at least a month, because the launch rocket is still being tested, according to the vendor building a new, low-cost rocket.

The TacSat payload hasn't yet left the Naval Research Laboratory, said Gwynne Shotwell, vice president of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of El Segundo, Calif. The $6 million, 70-foot Falcon I rocket still has to undergo final engine tests, she said.

Microsatellites have been championed as the cornerstone of future battlefield reconnaissance and surveillance. Individual commanders could control the sensors and cameras via the Secret IP Router Network.


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