This will be a two-part talk focusing on both the basic and applied research programs at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) – and a couple at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The ONR basic research portfolio is aimed at improved understanding of the ionosphere and thermosphere (I/T) and developing new sensors and models for specification and forecast of the I/T to provide advanced warning of communication and navigation outages – and forecast of satellite drag. Recently, NRL launched two ultraviolet remote sensing sensor platforms: the Special Sensor Ultraviolet Limb Imager (SSULI) on a polar orbiting DoD weather satellite; and the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS) on a Japanese HII-B rocket to the International Space Station. Early results of these UV remote sensing platforms will be presented along with a discussion of how these data sets fit into other ONR initiatives for assimilating Ionospheric models and future prospects for remote sensing of the I/T from geostationary orbit.
The ONR applied research program is focused on reducing the time and cost to deliver space hardware to orbit. ONR has sponsored a number of low cost, rapid space payload developments including: UHF communication from high earth orbit (HEO); maritime hyperspectral imaging of coastal shallow waters; data exfiltration from buoys and underwater vehicles; and ship tracking from space. Innovative new approaches include using cell phone and laptop technology and flying airborne payloads in pressurized boxes. In parallel, the DoD established the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office in Albuquerque NM to develop architectures and designs for a whole new class of satellite buses and payloads to deliver capabilities to space faster and at lower cost than is conventionally available today. The ORS Office has goals to be able to launch a small satellite (100- 500 kg) in less than 6 days for a total development cost (bus + payload+ rocket) of less than $60M. Recent ORS spaceflights and future missions will be discussed.