• Microwave Imager Sounder (MIS)
  • Joint Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey (JMAPS)

WindSat was a demonstration program to evaluate the capability to utilize passive microwave polarimetry to measure the full ocean surface wind field (wind speed and wind direction) from space. The instrument is a multi-frequency polarimetric microwave radiometer that passively measures microwave radiation emitted naturally from the ocean's surface and quantifies these measurements in terms of the brightness temperature. The SED, working in conjunction with NRL's Remote Sensing Division, successfully launched the WindSat satellite in January, 2003.

TacSat TacSat IV/CommX

TacSat-4 is a Navy lead Joint project managed by NRL's SED. TacSat-4's mission is to augment current SATCOM capabilities and to advance Operationally Responsive Space systems. TacSat-4 provides 10 Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communications channels that can be used for any combination of communications, data exfiltration, or Friendly Force Tracking (FFT).

MISSE-8 Zenith Side Materials on the International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)

The purpose of MISSE is to characterize the performance of new and prospective spacecraft materials when subjected to the combined effects of the space environment. Passive and active experiments are loaded into a Passive Experiment Carrier (PEC); the PEC is then transported via the Shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS), where it is attached to the ISS and opened on-orbit to expose the materials to space. At the end of the mission, the PEC is closed and returned to Earth. The MISSE program has a rich history and benefits from seven (7) previous on-orbit payloads with substantial legacy hardware and design.


A tethered spacecraft is being developed by the Spacecraft Engineering Department to demonstrate electrodynamic propulsion in space. Electrodynamic propulsion holds the promise of limitedless propulsion for maneuvering spacecraft without using expendable fuel. Electrodynamic propulsion can enable missions not previously possible, such as drag makeup for low altitude applications, multiple maneuvers to rendezvous with and deorbit space junk and repeated traverses through low altitudes to collect science data on the ionosphere. The NRL spacecraft, TEPCE, will consist of two 1.5U CubeSats attached to each end of one kilometer of electrically conducting tether.