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SatCom array NW-05a
Fo3 NW05c Tower.png
Icon settlement large.png
SatCom Array NW-05a loc.jpg
Map MarkerSatCom Array NW-05a
FactionsTalon Company
Cell NameSatComArray01b (exterior)
ref id00001328 (exterior)
Turret Control System

SatCom Array NW-05a is a satellite communications array, part of the SatCom array in the northwest of the Capital Wasteland. It is located further west of NN-03d, between Fort Constantine and the MDPL-05 Power Station.


NW-05a is populated by members of the Talon Company and a ghoul scientist. On the scientist's body you will find three notes. The two SatCom Array Coordinates will mark the other two SatCom arrays on your map when used with the computer at the top of the tower. The third holotape will activate "Highwater Trousers", an orbital micro-nuclear weapons platform (basically a satellite armed with nuclear missiles that can hit targets on the ground) that will drop several small tactical nuclear missiles around the tower. The scientist's notes indicate that while the orbital platform's missile payload is still intact, the rotors which change the targeting position of the array need to be replaced. There does not appear to be a replacement component at any other array.[1]


The SatCom Array's interior opens into a large room with a staircase that leads up to a second floor with nothing notable. The stairs also lead to a small alcove with a ladder. Climbing the ladder will bring you onto the satellite dish at the top of the array.

Notable loot


  • For your amusement, upload the Highwater Trousers activation code taken from the dead scientist into the nearby terminal, and at your own pace move up the ladder to the top of the dish (note that nothing will happen until you move from your spawn point). The explosions are ten times bigger than a mini-nuke and leave no craters, but cause fairly high, quickly decreasing radiation (above 40 rads a second, near the center of impact). They can kill your followers if you station them near a location where a missile falls.
  • The scientist cannot be enslaved using the Mesmetron - instead, she will frenzy. The resulting fire-fight typically ends with her death.
  • One of the Talon Company sentries is on an upper catwalk that is not accessible from within the tower or by exterior ladder. The sentry gets up there by climbing the tower itself. Shooting him (V.A.T.S. being the most effective) stops his climbing script, allowing you to kill him effortlessly. An alternative method of killing him is to drop through one of the gaps in the dish, though any character doing so will incur some injury.
  • If you have a follower, either make sure they are with you the whole time or set them to wait while inside the satellite tower, or they may be killed.
  • The code Highwater Trousers is another way to say 'flood pants' though no link to bombs, nuclear codes or the apocalypse were found.
  • It is possible for the player to find a yao guai or giant radscorpion at the top of the tower, though this may just be a random enemy spawn. If the yao guai is present it will most likely end up hovering on the other side of the railings due to a glitch, and it is not possible for the player to push it to its death.
  • It is also possible to encounter a deathclaw stuck in the entry hallway between the exterior door and the door to the main room.
  • You can obtain the SatCom missile launcher via console by typing "player.additem 5deee 1".


The SatCom Array NW-05a appears only in Fallout 3.

Behind the scenes

  • While the name itself is not a real world link, the station is: Highwater Trousers is a FOBS, a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System. These systems were originally developed by the Russians in the 1960s, banned by international treaty (which banned weapons in space) and evolved into the silo-launched versions, though only a variant of the R-36 "city buster" was fielded before the SALT II treaty explicitly banned such weapons. The theory (and fear) was that such weapons could be put into orbit indefinitely and launch their payloads from any distance, and any direction, even through holes in the enemy's early warning defense systems. The Highwater Trousers satellite could also reference a related weapons system developed by the US, which involved orbiting weapons clusters operating like the Minuteman silos do on the ground. This idea was echoed decades later in some of the Star Wars defense concepts.
  • It's also possible that the ghouls' implied plan (to void the United States' orbital nuclear arsenal), is a reference to the canceled Van Buren project, the plot of which involved a scientist using the United States' orbital nuclear arsenal to purge the wasteland.


  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png Even though the ghoul scientist is shown as "hostile" on your compass, pickpocketing her (whether simply stealing or planting an explosive) will result in negative karma.



  1. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.311: "1.03 SatCom Array NW-05A (LAT -17/LONG 25)
    This giant radar dish is unique among the Arrays in the Wasteland, as there's only one structure. The Ghoul in charge has hired the Talon Company to guard it. As you head up to the west base of the Array, two foes on the balcony above attack you. Don't run to the door, as there are three Frag Mines in this area; instead, attack from a distance then deactivate the mines before you enter the structure."
    (Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition Tour of the Capital Wasteland)