Aerospace & Defense

Information Technology


Emerging Capabilities

Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS)


The Defense Satellite Communications System provides military communications to soldiers in the field, as well as commanders over a wider bandwidth than Milstar's, but less protected.

The workhorse of the U.S. Military's super-high frequency communications is DSCS, which provides military communications to troops in the field as well as commanders at multiple locations. DSCS III, the most recent configuration, provides uninterrupted secure voice and high data rate communications to DoD users, essential tools in monitoring events and deploying and sustaining forces anywhere in the world. DSCS was used throughout Operation Desert Storm and as the primary communications link for U.S. forces in Bosnia and Iraq.

The DSCS and Milstar projects are managed by the MILSATCOM Joint Programs Office.

General Characteristics

  • Name: Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) III
  • Design Life: 10 years
  • Launch Weight: 1980 pounds
  • On-orbit Weight: 2550 pounds
  • Size: 80 inches height / 75 inches width / 76 inches depth
  • Solar array span: 38.1 feet
  • Satellite structure: Ultra light-weight chemical milled aluminum and magnesium structure with more than 80 advanced composite components.