BMD Watch: SBIRS payload acoustic tested

By MARTIN SIEFF, UPI Senior News Analyst   |   Oct. 25, 2006 at 12:26 PM   |   0 comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman said Wednesday it had "successfully completed acoustic testing of the payload for the first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellite. The company is to produce the payload for Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor and systems integrator for the SBIRS program.

During the test, the GEO-1 payload was subjected to the maximum sound and vibration levels expected during the spacecraft's launch into orbit. The payload's sensor assembly was assembled in a launch configuration for this un-powered acoustic exposure," Northrop Grumman said. The company said the tests were conducted at its Large Acoustic Test Facility at Redondo Beach, Calif.

"This step marks a key milestone in the test schedule for GEO-1," Northrop Grumman said. "

"Over the summer, the fully integrated payload was put through ambient functional testing at Azusa to demonstrate critical payload functions," the statement said. "Engineers executed 147 separate tests which checked out functions such as command and telemetry, infrared data connectivity to the onboard signal processing assembly, internal data bus messaging, scanner and starer mission modes, and downlink interfaces. Additional preparations ensured that the payload could be mounted to the test fixture and tested to the required levels."


South Korea tests cruise missile: claim

A South Korean newspaper reported Wednesday that South Korea has successfully test-fired its own home-produced cruise missile with a 600 mile range. That would give South Korea the capability to target all of North Korea and even reach parts of China and Japan.

The Dong-A Ilbo on its donga.com Web site cited a South Korean government official as telling it on Oct. 24 that the nation's Military and Agency for Defense Development had "conducted a test launch of the cruise missile.

"This domestically developed missile hit the target circle (5 meters) precisely," the report said.

"The missile was required to circle 25 times over the sky near a target and hit the target 40 km (24 miles) away from its launching point, it said.

The newspaper quoted a South Korean military official as saying, "It will take a few years until the missile is actually deployed in the field. An improvement of the maximum range to 1,500 km (900 miles) is also being carried out."

BMD Watch and its sister BMD Focus column have monitored over the past year reports that Taiwan has already developed its own nuclear capable cruise missile with a range of 500 miles or more and that it plans to deploy at least 50 of them by 2010.

The newspaper also noted that South Korea's alliance agreements with the United States prevent Seoul from developing its own ballistic missiles with a range of more than 180 miles and a weight of more than 1,100 pounds.

However, South Korea is permitted by the agreements to develop cruise missiles with no limitation on missile range as long as they do not weigh more than 1,100 pounds, the paper noted.


China hasn't attacked U.S. space sats

The Pentagon has denied reports that China has tried to blind U.S. satellites with lasers.

U.S. Marine Gen. James Cartwright, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said in a Sept. 21 interview with "Inside the Pentagon" published on Oct. 12 that the United States had not seen clear indications that China has intentionally disrupted American satellite capabilities, Inside Defense.com reported Oct. 13.

Cartwright was quizzed about previously published claims that the Chinese military in recent years had tested systems that could damage or destroy U.S. military satellites in orbit.

"Your [question pertains] to someone actually with intent interfering out there," Cartwright said during the Sept. 21 Pentagon interview. "And we really haven't seen that."

"You have to expect that any place you put commerce and you put value, there will be competition in that environment," Cartwright said.

"The United States relies heavily on satellites for commercial communications, navigation systems and an array of critical military capabilities. The nation owns more than half of the 800 satellites currently in orbit, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, "InsideDefense.com said.

The Web site cited one unnamed U.S. space official as telling it that the U.S. armed forces "rely on space-based commercial communications capacity for up to 80 percent of its needs."

Defense News reported on Sept. 21 that China was alleged "to have used a ground-based laser to paint an American satellite," the Center for Defense Information noted in its CDI Space Security Update Monday.

CDI Space Security Update cited Donald Kerr, director of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) as confirming "that it happened at least once." The report also noted Gen. Cartwright's response quoted above.

"One big problem is that space situational awareness being so poor, it is unclear what the cause is if a satellite were to malfunction," the CDI report said.

However, it cited Arms Control Wonk as noting on Sept. 25 that the United States in October 1997 tested a laser against a U.S. satellite at an altitude of 250 miles to determine U.S. vulnerability to such an attack.

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