USSOCOM’s “Prometheus” Reconnaissance Satellite

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, FL – U.S. Special Operations Command took its operations into orbit Nov. 2013 with the launch of the first eight cube satellites in a project titled, “Prometheus.” The CubeSats were developed in partnership with the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in Los Alamos, New Mexico and the program was recognized with a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award during a special ceremony in Los Alamos on Feb. 26.

The Prometheus CubeSats are part of a technology development and demonstration effort to explore the viability of using a CubeSat constellation to meet existing special operations mission requirements. The Prometheus project is just one of a handful of initiatives that will continue to improve the responsiveness of space capabilities and provide SOF with tactically relevant information in shorter timelines.
“Our special operations forces are often deployed to locations that place them at the very edge of traditional satellite communications capabilities. This can present a serious challenge for our forces to effectively operate,” said James F. “Hondo” Geurts, the Acquisition Executive at USSOCOM. “Seeing this problem set, the Los Alamos team mobilized their significant expertise and mission focused mindset to invent, refine, and rapidly field a radically affordable and operationally responsive approach to solving this hard problem. In doing so, this team enabled new capabilities for our nation’s deployed special operations forces. We congratulate them for this well-deserved and significant recognition and are fortunate to have them as part of the SOF team.”

LANL Director Charlie McMillan and Principal Associate Director Terry Wallace for Global Security, presented the awards, which recognize team members for their “deep technical expertise” and “tight collaboration … to accomplish challenging performance goals under an aggressive launch timeline.”

The technology developed by the Prometheus team has helped shape the future direction of agile space systems for the U.S. military and the Department of Energy. The CubeSats are demonstrating the capability to transfer audio, video, and data files from man-portable, low-profile, remotely located field units, to deployable ground terminals, using over the horizon satellite communications. The Prometheus CubeSat demonstration will provide the critical information needed to evaluate the approach, technology, concept of operations, operational utility, and affordability of future space systems.

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