Space Sensors Demonstrate Cold-body Missile Tracking

Northrop Grumman announced Tuesday that the two Space Tracking and Surveillance System demonstration satellites earlier this year tracked a Minuteman III ICBM through its boost and post-boost phases, for the first time. “This test demonstrated the ability of STSS to track cold-body objects post-boost, an important capability needed by the Missile Defense Agency” for the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, said Doug Young, Northrop’s vice president of missile defense and missile warning programs. The Minuteman flew from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., out over the Pacific Ocean to a pre-determined point about 200 miles southwest of Guam during the September test flight. Northrop and industry partner Raytheon built these STSS spacecraft for the MDA in order to validate the ability of space sensors to provide high-precision, real-time missile tracking. (See also Another On-orbit Success for STSS from the Daily Report archives)