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Pacific MRF HI (SPX) Dec 15, 2010
The Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) Demonstration satellites recently showed the ability of the space-based sensors to maximize defended areas through earlier tracking of missiles, thus allowing quicker launches by interceptors, known as a "force multiplier" capability.
The two missile defense satellites, built by Northrop Grumman as the prime contractor and Raytheon as the sensor payload provider, observed an Aegis test Oct. 6 involving two missile launches within hours of each other from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii.
This Aegis test event showed the ability of STSS to view a dim medium-range missile, observe the target with both tracking sensors through booster burnout, and continue to observe the spent booster well into the post-boost midcourse phase.
Both STSS satellites transmitted tracking data to the Enterprise Sensors Lab (ESL) at the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., where the information was processed and fused with data from other sensor assets, to form a stereo track of the target vehicle.
"The ability to form a stereo track from STSS sensor data is a significant precursor to demonstrating the ability to support an Aegis Launch on Remote capability," said Doug Young, vice president of missile defense and missile warning programs for the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector.
He noted that the STSS satellites are scheduled to participate in future Aegis test events to demonstrate that their stereo track accuracy is sufficient to enable a successful Aegis launch on remote intercept of a target missile.
"The launch on remote capability is a force multiplier for the Ballistic Missile Defense System," Young said.
"Giving Aegis the ability to launch an interceptor against a target before it comes into its field of view permits earlier intercepts and significantly increases its defendable area. Working closely with the Missile Defense Agency, we continue to push the operational envelope of the STSS Demonstration satellites to help define the requirements of a next-generation missile surveillance and tracking satellite constellation."
Military Space News at SpaceWar.com
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