Missile Tracking Satellites Finish Ahead

The Missile Defense Agency’s two Space Tracking and Surveillance System satellites met the goals of their experimental mission five months ahead of schedule, announced prime contractor Northrop Grumman Wednesday. “We have delivered first-time capabilities for missile defense that are valuable for our national security that also are a good value for taxpayers,” said Doug Young, Northrop’s missile defense vice president. Launched into orbit in September 2009, the satellites completed the final objective of their on-orbit demonstration in April, well before the original September target date, according to the company. Among the highlights, the satellites successfully tracked six threat-representative ballistic missiles in tests and provided three-dimensional missile tracks have been the highest quality data from an orbital sensor to date, said Northrop. The satellites will continue to participate in missile defense tests through Fiscal 2012, said the company. Raytheon supplied the STSS sensors. (See also Satellites Track Short-range Missile in Test.)