Technology for Autonomous Operational Survivability (TAOS)
TAOS is a technology demonstration satellite whose purpose is to implement creative techniques for autonomous operational survivability. For future DOD space systems, TAOS provides a cost-effective "tool box" of autonomous survivability options. The Microcosm Autonomous Navigation System (MANS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver are demonstrating orbital autonomy capability, which could eventually reduce control and tracking costs by more than $200M annually. An advanced radiation-hardened computer and data bus are introducing standardization and modularity into spacecraft design with anticipated savings of $1B in life-cycle costs over the next 20 years. Currently, the laser and radar warning sensors are providing data to users in support of the Air Force's "Red Flag" exercises.
On 13 March 1994, TAOS was launched from Vandenberg AFB on the first Advanced Research Projects Agency's Taurus launch vehicle as part of the first Space Test Experiments Platform (STEP) spacecraft. The TAOS program addresses satellite autonomous survivability, operational tactics, and up-front logistic support costs. Space control experiments involve USSPACECOM, AFSPC, USARSPACE, NAVSPACECOM, and 30 tracking sites, making this the most comprehensive space test program ever conceived and executed by Phillips Laboratory. The TAOS team, "in-house," developed, planned, and led the execution of over 20 complex experiments on-orbit. Experimentation conducted to date includes: Category Alpha experiments, which performed payload early orbit checkout; anomaly resolution for both autonomous navigation payloads and "work arounds" allowing the start of our Category Bravo autonomous navigation experiments; and calibration of the laser and radar sensors completing most Category Charlie warning sensory experiments. Category Echo exercises carried out to date with USSPACECOM have directly and dramatically improved how space control missions are performed. Additionally, the TAOS program office received the Air Force Association, Bernard A. Shriever Chapter, 1994 Unit of the Year Award.
The TAOS concept originated in 1989. Since that time, one of the hallmarks of this highly successful technology venture has been the strong working relationship established between the Air Force's Phillips Laboratory and a number of key industry players. TRW and Defense Systems, Inc., built the satellite STEP, Rockwell constructed the GPS receiver, and Microcosm of Torrance, California, was responsible for MANS. Honeywell furnished the Generic Very High Speed Integrated Spaceborne Computer. Sandia National Laboratories and Intelligent Interactive Imagery Corporation of Foster City, California, each built a laser sensor; GTE Strategic Electronic Defense Division furnished the TAOS radar sensor. It was this cooperative affiliation that enabled TAOS to demonstrate reduced dependence on ground support for satellite guidance, navigation, and control to better support the warfighter in-theater.
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