STSS data aids missile defense

Dec. 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM
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KAUAI, Hawaii, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Concept of operations for space-borne operational missile defense sensors will be created with data collected by Northrop Grumman-Raytheon satellites.

Northrop reported a pair of Space Tracking and Surveillance System demonstration satellites for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency collected the data last summer during an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense test that involved the intercept of a medium-range target by the newest variant of a Standard Missile-3 interceptor.

The STSS satellites collected data in infrared wave bands similar to those planned for MDA's proposed Precision Tracking Space System.

"This mission allowed STSS to take data specifically to help refine the future operations of PTSS, which MDA is designing to perform space-based tracking of ballistic missiles," said David Bloodgood, STSS program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.

"Our collection settings were tuned to give maximum utility of collected data to PTSS. STSS was able to collect data on the medium-range target, meeting many mission objectives including collecting data on plumes, spent stages and complex scenes," he said.

The STSS demonstration program, using sensors capable of detecting visible and infrared light, serves as the experimental space layer of the Ballistic Missile Defense System for tracking midcourse re-entry vehicles.

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