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Northrop's STSS demonstration satellites deliver data

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The High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor. Photo: USMDA photo.

PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, HAWAII (BNS): The Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) demonstration satellites tracked two different missile targets and delivered data in real-time to support a successful flight test of the THAAD weapon system, according to Northrop Grumman.

During the live-intercept of both targets, the STSS demonstrators transmitted data in real-time to the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), it said.

Known as FTT-12, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) flight test took place on October 5 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii.

MDA launched two different missile targets to demonstrate the Ballistic Missile Defence System's (BMDS) ability to handle a larger missile raid.

"From the STSS satellites' standpoint, this was a very demanding test covering core capabilities such as hard body detection and post-boost phase tracking," said Doug Young, vice president, missile defense and warning for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.

Young noted that FTT-12 is the second THAAD flight test that included STSS, with far more extensive participation by the demonstration satellites compared with the previous test June 28, 2010 (FTT-14).

One missile was an air-launched, medium-range target (MRT) that was launched from a C-17 cargo aircraft via parachute. The second target was a short-range target (SRT) launched from a mobile platform. The SRT was launched approximately 160 seconds after the MRT.

The THAAD weapon system intercepted both the MRT and the SRT outside the Earth's atmosphere in a near-simultaneous engagement, Northrop said.

MDA is operating STSS as an experimental space layer of the BMDS. Using sensors capable of detecting visible and infrared light, STSS is demonstrating the ability of a space sensor to provide high-precision, real-time tracking of missiles and midcourse objects, thus enabling simultaneous regional, theatre and strategic missile defence.

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THAAD  Northrop  STSS  
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