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By | January 21, 2008 | Satellite News Feed

Japan Progresses In Improving PAC-3 Missile Defense System

Tests Of System Set, To Occur In United States At White Sands

Japan is moving to improve its missile defense system that could guard central Tokyo against incoming lower-level weapons, and is preparing for a test of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, missile defense system.

As well, Japanese forces are surveying possible sites for PAC-3 missile defense installations in the Tokyo area, according to wire services. Those forces deployed missile units, but not the interceptors, to various potential installation sites.

Japan will conduct the tests in the United States at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, sometime during the Japanese fiscal year that ends in March 2009, the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) noted.

The ministry has requested 900 million yen (US$7.95 million) for the test in next year’s budget, MDAA observed.

Japan also last month used an Aegis BMD weapon system on its ship JS Kongo to annihilate a target ballistic missile, working in partnership with the U.S. Navy.

Behind Japan moving to protect itself from missile attacks are North Korean development of ever longer-range missiles, and North Korea detonating an atomic bomb in an underground test. In a July 4-5, 2006, test, North Korea fired a series of missiles of various ranges, and all were successful except for the longest-range weapon.

Military analysts expect North Korea to continue developing the long-range Taepo Dong-2 missile until it is operational, able to strike the United States.

North Korea, in the 1990s, also fired a missile that arced over Japan and fell into the sea.

Japan as well has cast an anxious eye at China, which is spending enormous sums to build up its military with cutting-edge aircraft, longer-range bombers, Sovremenny destroyers, eight different new classes of submarines including a nuclear-powered boat that fires nuclear-tipped Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), and huge numbers of short and medium range missiles, including 1,328 aimed at Taiwan.

The United States, meanwhile, is erecting a multi-layered ballistic missile defense shield to guard U.S. territory, forces and allies.

Israeli Intel Satellite Launched By India On Polar Rocket

An Israeli military intelligence satellite was launched by India, using the Polar satellite launch vehicle, according to The Hindu, a newspaper in India, and wire service reports.

The launch early yesterday placed the Tecsar satellite in orbit, an asset that could improve Israeli intelligence on activities in Iran, with a resolution of as small as 10 centimeters.

The satellite was built by a team of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC]. When fully operational, the satellite will provide military users with a significant improvement in advanced imaging capabilities using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology.

Separately, this technology also will be used to benefit the United States.

Last April, Northrop Grumman and IAI initiated an exclusive teaming agreement to provide a responsive, cost-effective, space-based SAR capability to the U.S. government based on IAI’s Tecsar multi-mode X-band radar imaging satellite. Known as Trinidad, the system will provide unique day/night and all-weather point and area collection capabilities. Trinidad can be manufactured in about 28 months and held in storage for launch on a 30-day call-up.

Iran has been increasingly bellicose and threatening toward Israel. For example, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Israel should be wiped from the map.

As well, Iran provided financial backing and rockets and missiles to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. Hezbollah in 2006 fired about 4,000 of the weapons into Israel, damaging buildings, causing casualties among Israeli civilians, and damaging an Israeli ship.

Further, Iran is rapidly developing longer-range missiles. It test-fired a series of missiles in a single exercise. It launched a missile from a submerged submarine.

And Iran has refused global demands that it disband and surrender its nuclear materials development program, which Iran claims would be used for electrical generation. Western observers and the United Nations fear, however, that the materials would be used to build nuclear weapons. Tellingly, Iran has refused to cease its nuclear materials program, even as Russia has supplied Iran with already processed atomic materials, obviating any need for Iran to continue production.

The United States, meanwhile, is planning to install a missile defense system in Europe, to safeguard European nations against missiles fired from Middle Eastern nations such as Iran.

That plan, for a Ground-based Midcourse Defense [GMD] system there, is dependent on the Czech Republic agreeing to host a radar installation, and on Poland to permit installation of ground silos and interceptors on its land.

Congress has said construction may not begin until the two nations provide those agreements, though research and development may proceed. The Boeing Co. [BA] leads the GMD program.

Launch Schedule

2008

Date: Feb. 7 +

Mission: STS-122

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 2:45 p.m. EST

Description: STS-122 will deliver the Columbus European Laboratory Module and will be the twenty-fourth mission to the International Space Station.

Date: Mid-March +

Mission: STS-123

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Mission STS-123 on Space Shuttle Endeavour will deliver the pressurized section of the Kibo Japanese Experiment Logistics Module (ELM-PS) on the twenty-fifth mission to the International Space Station.

Date: April 17 *

Mission: STSS ATRR – Missile Defense Agency

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC-2

Description: STSS ATRR serves as a pathfinder for future launch and mission technology for the Missile Defense Agency. To be launched by NASA for the MDA.

Date: April 24 +

Mission: STS-124

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 8:26 a.m. EDT

Description: Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124 will transport the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module – Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System (JEM-RMS) to the International Space Station.

Date: May 16

Mission: GLAST

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17 – Pad 17-B

Launch Window: 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. EDT

Description: An heir to its successful predecessor — the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory — the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope will have the ability to detect gamma rays in a range of energies from thousands to hundreds of billions of times more energetic than the light visible to the human eye. Radiation of such magnitude can only be generated under the most extreme conditions, thus GLAST will focus on studying the most energetic objects and phenomena in the universe.

Date: June 15

Mission: OSTM/Jason 2

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC-2

Description: The Ocean Surface Topography Mission on the Jason-2 satellite will be a follow-on to the Jason mission.

Date: June 25 +

Mission: TacSat-3

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Minotaur Rocket

Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility – Goddard Space Flight Center

Description: NASA will support the Air Force launch of the TacSat-3 satellite, managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate. TacSat-3 will demonstrate the capability to furnish real-time data to the combatant commander. NASA Ames will fly a microsat and NASA Wallops will fly the CubeSats on this flight in addition to providing the launch range.

Date: July 15

Mission: IBEX

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL Rocket

Launch Site: Reagan Test Site, Kwajalein Atoll

Description: IBEX’s science objective is to discover the global interaction between the solar wind and the interstellar medium and will achieve this objective by taking a set of global energetic neutral atom images that will answer four fundamental science questions.

Date: July 16 *

Mission: STSS Demonstrators Program – Missile Defense Agency

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17, Pad A

Description: STSS Demonstrators Program is a midcourse tracking technology demonstrator and is part of an evolving ballistic missile defense system. STSS is capable of tracking objects after boost phase and provides trajectory information to other sensors and interceptors. To be launched by NASA for the Missile Defense Agency.

Date: July 20 *

Mission: GOES-O

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta IV

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17

Description: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are actively engaged in a cooperative program, the multimission Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series N-P. This series will be a vital contributor to weather, solar and space operations, and science.

Date: Aug. 7 *

Mission: STS-125

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 8:24 a.m. EDT

Description: Space Shuttle Atlantis will fly seven astronauts into space for the fifth and final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. During the 11-day flight, the crew will repair and improve the observatory’s capabilities through 2013.

Date: Sept. 18 +

Mission: STS-126

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 8:08 p.m. EDT

Description: Space Shuttle Endeavour launching on assembly flight ULF2, will deliver a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the International Space Station.

Date: Oct. 28

Mission: LRO/LCROSS

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: The mission objectives of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite are to advance the Vision for Space Exploration by confirming the presence or absence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at either the Moon’s North or South Pole.

Date: Dec. 1 *

Mission: SDO

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: The first Space Weather Research Network mission in the Living With a Star (LWS) Program of NASA.

Date: Dec.15

Mission: OCO

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC 576-E

Description: The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is a new Earth orbiting mission sponsored by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder Program.

2009

Date: Feb. 16

Mission: Kepler

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17 – Pad 17-B

Description: The Kepler Mission, a NASA Discovery mission, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to detect and characterize hundreds of Earth- size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone.

Date: March 1

Mission: Glory

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC 576-E

Description: The Glory Mission will help increase our understanding of the Earth’s energy balance by collecting data on the properties of aerosols and black carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere and how the Sun’s irradiance affects the Earth’s climate.

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