Experimental MDA Craft Gets New Owner, Mission
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has completed its demonstration program with a classified experimental missile tracking satellite and will transition it to the control of Air Force Space Command to support the service’s space situational awareness mission, according to a Nov. 8 MDA press release.
The Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) Advanced Technology Risk Reduction satellite, built byof Los Angeles, was launched in May 2009. Northrop Grumman also built a pair of unclassified STSS demonstration satellites that were launched four months later; all three spacecraft are precursors to an operational missile tracking constellation planned by the MDA.
The classified STSS satellite has demonstrated the required on-orbit system capabilities, and has also been performing space situational awareness functions, the press release said.