REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Jan. 18, 2011 -- The effectiveness of the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) Demonstration satellites has been expanded after a communications crosslink was activated and successfully tested by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), prime contractor, and Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN), sensor payload provider.
The radio frequency (RF) relay between the missile defense satellites establishes communications between one spacecraft that is out of view of a ground station through the other satellite, which is in range, according to Doug Young, vice president of Missile Defense and Warning programs for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector.
"The crosslink expands the regions of the world where both satellites are in communication, enabling closure of the fire control loop with missile defense interceptors," Young said. "The ability to acquire and hand-off timely tracked data from the infrared sensors on board STSS to the Ballistic Missile Defense System's intercept chain is a critical capability for destroying targets as early as possible during their flight."
The Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., receives and processes data from the STSS Demonstration satellites. Connectivity is provided through the Air Force Satellite Control Network in near real-time.
The missile tracking capability being demonstrated by the STSS Demonstration program will mature the design and concepts of operation for a future operational constellation. The operational constellation will be designed to enable earlier intercepts of threat missiles and to significantly improve missile defense capabilities for the nation, deployed forces and allies.
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