A United Launch Alliance Delta IV heavy lift expendable launch vehicle successfully boosted the last Defense Support Program satellite into orbit Nov. 10 at 8:50 p.m. The Northrop Grumman-built DSP separated from the booster six hours and 20 minutes later, states a company release. Slated to be replaced by the Space-based Infrared System, the DSP constellation should serve “well into the next decade” with the addition of DSP 23, said Alexis Livanos, head of Northrop’s space technology sector. The DSP system has been in service for about 40 years.
Supply chain and vanishing vendor issues make supporting old nuclear systems increasingly difficult, Global Strike Command’s logistics and engineering chief Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell said. Additive printing will be a big help but can be hampered by bureaucracy.