Missile Tracking Satellite Launched

The Air Force’s 30th Space Wing, working with the Missile Defense Agency, NASA, and industry, successfully placed an experimental missile-tracking satellite in orbit Tuesday aboard a Delta II rocket launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. The space tracking and surveillance system advanced technology risk reduction satellite, or STSS ATRR, for short, is a small spacecraft that will serve as a pathfinder to validate next-generation sensor technology for future MDA space missions. “I’m very proud of our Airmen and mission partners for all the hard work they have put into this important mission,” said Col. Steve Winters, the 30th SW vice commander, in a release yesterday. Along with STSS ATRR, the Missile Defense Agency plans to launch two larger STSS satellites into space aboard a single launch vehicle around August from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. They are part of the space-based sensor layer that MDA is developing to detect missile launches, provide continuous target tracking, and pass tracking data to missile defense interceptors with the accuracy and within the timeliness necessary to enable successful target interception, according to an MDA release May 5