Linux blasts off in U.S. tactical satellite

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Sci/Tech

Linux was shot into space Dec. 16, as part of a second-phase Air Force Research Laboratory program aimed at making space more "operationally responsive." The TacSat-2 (tactical satellite) program aims to create "micro satellites" that can be launched quickly and cheaply, to support tactical military operations.

Todd Brackett, PTR Group president, explains, "Say the Marines are going to land on a beach, and you want a satellite's view of the situation, but you don't have access to one of the big national asset satellites. That kind of access is very difficult to get for tactical purposes. You want to quickly create a satellite and get it up in space, and over the space you're interested in. We're proving you can do that, leveraging COTS solutions easy solutions, and free software."

The Linux-powered TIE payload is an RF (radio frequency) sensor suite said to be capable of gathering a variety of signals.

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