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Leidos completes successful Lonestar Tactical Space Support Vehicle demonstration
Test Engineers prepare the Lonestar Tactical Space Support Vehicle in Leidos Dynetics facility clean room. The Lonestar program officially completed its extended journey in orbit in December. (Gary Gee/Leidos Dynetics)
Leidos completes successful Lonestar Tactical Space Support Vehicle demonstration
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Dec 13, 2023

Leidos (NYSE: LDOS), a Fortune 500 defense and space technology supplier, has recently announced the successful conclusion of its Lonestar program, a pivotal project designed to enhance space-based situational awareness for tactical military operations. The Lonestar tactical space support vehicle (TSSV) has been under the spotlight since its launch on July 1, 2022, from the Mojave Air and Space Port, marking a significant milestone in the realm of defense and space collaboration.

This technology demonstrator, developed by Leidos, was initially set for a one-year on-orbit demonstration under the aegis of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC). However, the TSSV's impressive performance led to an extension of six months, allowing for the collection of additional vital data and key observations, crucial for future technological advancements in the sector.

Jonathan Pettus, the Aerospace, Civil and Defense operations manager for Leidos Dynetics, highlighted the rapid success of the Lonestar project, stating, "Lonestar completed all of its on-orbit checkouts in the first 30 days." He further added, "It quickly met key technology objectives once on orbit, and we are proud to have been a part of developing this important demonstration vehicle for our Army customer. Its work will carry us into the next phase of important satellite payload and algorithm development."

The Lonestar TSSV notably demonstrated new technologies crucial for GPS interference warning, a capability that holds significant value for tactical users in the field. The project's success also entailed multiple novel observations that were promptly shared with the Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Situational Awareness community, encompassing the Defense and Intelligence sectors, along with other federal agencies. The Space Development Agency (SDA) has also recognized Lonestar as a pathfinder in providing essential data for the requirements of navigation capabilities within the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA).

Further supporting Lonestar's on-orbit operations, the USASMDC's payload development laboratory at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, played a crucial role. This facility provided the necessary ground systems for satellite command and telemetry, an integral component of the mission's success.

The Lonestar contract, awarded to Leidos' Dynetics team in 2018, underscores the company's capability in space systems and high-performance signal processing applications. Based in Huntsville, the Dynetics team was tasked with developing, testing, integrating, and delivering the TSSV. They accomplished this through the Design, Development, Demonstration and Integration (D3I), Domain 1 task order, with a contract value of $8.8 million. The rapid development of Lonestar, including the utilization of hardware-in-the-loop testing and simulation, is a testament to Leidos' expertise in ensuring that the payload mission software operated as expected once in flight.

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