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STSS Demonstrator Mission

Tyneside, UK
2022 Aug 15
Monday, Day 227

Curated by:

Sensor Tests:


Press Release - mentions "Emerging Technologies"
2010 Jun 6 - Missile Tracking Test

On Jun 6 at 22:25 UTC, A Ground Based Interceptor missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base against a virtual target. It was the first of a series of three sensor tests for the STSS Demonstrator satellites during 2010 June.

The Ground Based Interceptor (GBI)

GBI LaunchThe missile was a two-stage test version of the Ground Based Interceptor. It is usually has three-stages in its operational configuration.

As it ascended, it stayed within view of both satellites, initially against the background of the sunlit Earth for SV-1 (USA-208) and just above the Earth's limb for SV-1 (USA-209).

The missile delivered an exoatmospheric kill vehicle to a designated point in space. The kill vehicle would normally collide with the target but, as there wasn't one for this test flight, it executed a variety of maneuvers to collect data on its performance in space.

The picture on the right is of the actual Ground Based Interceptor launch. It was 15:25 local time at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Observing the Launch

The Ballistic Missile Defense Agency announced tha several missile defense assets and emerging technologies observed the launch and gathered data. They included the STSS AN/TPY-2 X-band Radar, and the Early Warning Radar at Beale AFB, California.

"Emerging technologies" is a reference to the STSS Demonstrator satellite pair. According to Northrop-Grumman, the satellites operated as expected and the system generated high-quality track data during the boost phase.

Missile Test

Geometry of the Mission

The STSS Demonstrator satellites were travelling north-east across North America. STSS Demonstrator SV-1 had a high elevation view of the event but it was close to the horizon for SV-2.

The map was produced using the satellite Tracking program 'Orbitron' (note - Orbitron tends to draw its footprints slightly inside the true line). Ground tracks are based on element sets created from observations by amateurs and published from time to time by Mike McCants in his "classified.tle" elements file.

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