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Space sensors detect, track missile launch

July 9, 2010 at 4:35 PM

VANDENBERG AFB, Calif., July 9 (UPI) -- Demonstration satellites built by Northrop Grumman and Raytheon successfully tracked a ground-based missile launch in a systems test last month.

Tracking data generated by satellite sensors was transmitted to the Missile Defense Integration and Operation Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., which serves as the ground station for the two demonstration spacecraft, Northrop Grumman said in a news release.

"The STSS satellites operated as expected and the system generated high-quality track data during the boost phase in this first missile test of capabilities," said Gabe Watson, vice president, missile defense and missile warning programs for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

"The STSS system is on its way to proving the value of space-based sensors for missile defense by demonstrating the ability to detect and track missiles throughout their entire flight trajectory."

STSS stands for Space Tracking and Surveillance System.

The company said the tests will help mature tracking technologies and concepts of operation for an operational constellation. "The operational constellation will be designed to enable earlier intercepts of threat missiles in flight and to significantly improve the nation's missile defense capabilities for our homeland."

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