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Proceedings Paper

The Missile Defense Agency's space tracking and surveillance system
Author(s): John Watson; Keith Zondervan
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Paper Abstract

The Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) is a layered system incorporating elements in space. In addition to missile warning systems at geosynchronous altitudes, an operational BMDS will include a low Earth orbit (LEO) system-the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS). It will use infrared sensing technologies synergistically with the Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) and will provide a seamless adjunct to radars and sensors on the ground and in airborne platforms. STSS is being designed for a future operational capability to defend against evolving threats. STSS development is divided into phases, commencing with a two-satellite demonstration constellation scheduled for launch in 2008. The demonstration satellites will conduct a menu of tests and experiments to prove the system concept, including the ground segment. They will have limited operational capability within the integrated BMDS. Data from the demonstration satellites will be received and processed by the Missile Defense Space Experiment Center (MDSEC), a part of the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center (MDIOC). MDA launched in 2007 into LEO a satellite (NFIRE) designed to make near-field multispectral measurements of boosting targets and to demonstrate laser communication, the latter in conjunction with the German satellite TerraSAR-X. The gimbaled, lightweight laser terminal has demonstrated on orbit a 5.5 gbps rate in both directions. The filter passbands of NFIRE are similar to the STSS demonstrator track sensor. While providing useful phenomenology during its time on orbit, NFIRE will also serve as a pathfinder in the development of STSS operations procedures.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 October 2008
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7106, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XII, 710617 (9 October 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.801937
Show Author Affiliations
John Watson, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Keith Zondervan, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7106:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XII
Roland Meynart; Steven P. Neeck; Haruhisa Shimoda; Shahid Habib, Editor(s)

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