Space Tracking Key to Homeland Defense

The Precision Tracking Space System is “the greatest future enhancement for both homeland and regional defense in the next 10 years,” Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, Missile Defense Agency director, told the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel. PTSS is a satellite envisioned to track multiple ballistic missiles simultaneously and cue anti-missile interceptors. These spacecraft would provide “unprecedented capability” to track large-sized raids of ballistic missiles of all ranges through their entire flight trajectory, said O’Reilly. From their orbital perch, they would have “pervasive coverage” of the Northern Hemisphere, including the latitudes that the Pentagon is most concerned about, he said in his Tuesday testimony. He noted that MDA has provided data requested by OSD’s cost-assessment office, which is working on an independent cost estimate of PTSS. MDA has programmed $1.5 billion for PTSS from Fiscal 2013 to Fiscal 2017. MDA plans to complete final design and engineering models for the PTSS bus, optical payload, and communications payload in Fiscal 2013, said O’Reilly. Launch of the first two PTSS spacecraft is projected in Fiscal 2017, he stated. (O’Reilly’s written testimony)