REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Nov. 29, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The second of two Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) demonstration satellites being built by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing. The first STSS space vehicle completed thermal vacuum testing in May 2007.
Thermal vacuum testing is conducted to confirm that the satellite will operate according to specifications in its space environment. A key mission element demonstrated was the space vehicle's ability to detect and track a target missile. Trained crews located at the Missile Defense Space Experimentation Center (MDSEC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., also took control of the space vehicle to conduct on-orbit functional and performance tests including simulated scheduled communications opportunities.
"This major milestone is the culmination of months of space environmental testing to ensure successful on-orbit performance and reduction of risk -- important elements to launch readiness," said Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of the company's Space Technology sector. "We are on track to deliver both satellites for launch next year."
The STSS demonstration satellites will be launched in 2008 from Cape Canaveral and will communicate with the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Test Bed via the Missile Defense Space Experimentation Center ground station. These demonstration STSS satellites will support the BMDS Test Bed by detecting and tracking missiles in all phases of flight. The test bed will allow the assessment of the STSS system's capabilities and its ability to operate in concert with other parts of a multi-layered missile defense architecture.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Bob Bishop Northrop Grumman Space Technology 310.812.5227 310.251.0261 (cell) email@example.com