The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) will launch Tactical Satellite IV (TacSat-4) on 27 September 2011, aboard an Orbital Sciences Corporation Minotaur-IV+ launch vehicle, marking the 100th launch of an NRL-built satellite.

The TacSat-4 spacecraft, which will be deployed into an orbit with an apogee of 12,050km, will improve existing geosynchronous satellite communication.

Office of Naval Research (ONR) director of innovation Larry Schuette said that communication was a critical warfighting requirement and TacSat-4 will support forward deployed forces at sea and marines on the ground.

“We’ve developed a technology more rapidly and at lower cost that will supplement traditional satellites, giving multiple combatant commanders around the globe another outlet for data transmission and communications on the move,” he added.

TacSat-4 is a reconnaissance and communication satellite, which is managed by the Naval Research Laboratory Naval Center for Space Technology.