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By | March 31, 2008 | Satellite News Feed

AMRAAM Kills Target In Recent Test

A new missile variant, the AIM-120D Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, destroyed its target in a test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Raytheon Co. [RTN] announced.

The AIM-120D AMRAAM was fired by a Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft from the VX-31 squadron against a QF-4 target drone. The missile guided to a direct hit, destroying the drone and meeting all primary test objectives, according to Raytheon.

The AMRAAM missile has been developed through the combined efforts of the Air Force Air Armament Center, the Navy, and Raytheon. The AIM- 120D is currently in the system design and development phase.

"The AIM-120D builds on the combat proven AMRAAM by adding an enhanced electronic protection suite, two-way data link, and GPS-aided navigation," said Judy Stokley, Air Force deputy program executive officer for weapons.

Four Standard Missile 2 Units Tested By Destroyer

Four Standard Missile 2 Block IIIBs were flight tested by being launched from a Navy destroyer, Raytheon Co. [RTN] reported.

The missiles were fired from the guided missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG-102), which flight tested four Raytheon-built Standard Missile 2 Block IIIB missiles.

All the missiles successfully engaged the extremely stressing targets, which represented a variety of threat scenarios, according to Raytheon.

In addition to the crew of the USS Sampson, the test was supported by personnel from the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Sea Test Range, the Navy Standard Missile Program Office and Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz.

SM-2 Block IIIB is the latest variant of Standard Missile, adding an infrared seeker and other enhancements to the missile. It has been the primary Navy surface-to-air fleet air defense weapon for more than three decades.

Standard Missile has evolved throughout the years to address emerging threats and remains the most advanced anti-air warfare missile deployed, capable of engaging anti-ship cruise missiles, aircraft and helicopters, Raytheon said. SM-2 is operational on guided missile cruisers and destroyers in the Navy, and in seven allied navies.

Aerojet Test Fires Miniature Solid Propellant Divert-And-Attitude-Control System

Aerojet test fired a miniature solid propellant divert and attitude control system (DACS) for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the company reported.

The system met all objectives, initial test results show, according to Aerojet, a GenCorp [GY] company.

This test was an important milestone in Aerojet’s development of a solid propellant DACS for missile defense applications.

Aerojet’s miniature DACS technology is applicable to interceptors with multiple kill vehicles on a single payload.

The inherent safety and insensitive munitions characteristics of solid propellant technology are attractive for mobile and sea-based interceptor deployments, according to the company.

Aerojet is developing this unique technology on a contract through the Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command for MDA.

SAR-Lupe Satellite Launched By Russian Cosmos-3M Rocket

A Russian Cosmos-3M rocket launched a SAR-Lupe satellite carrying a Thales Alenia Space sensor, the fourth in a constellation, from the Plesetsk space center, Thales announced.

SAR-Lupe satellites provide high-resolution images to the German Ministry of Defence.

Thales Alenia Space was responsible, on behalf of the prime contractor OHB-System AG, for designing and developing the Sensor Electronic Units, comprising radiofrequency, processing and control sub-units.

The SAR-Lupe program, which has a 10-year lifespan, comprises a constellation of five identical small satellites (720 kg) which will be positioned into three quasi polar orbital planes at approximately 500 km altitude, and a ground segment.

That program is based on technologies in the SAR radar field, able to get images under any weather or light conditions, day or night.

It will provide image in X-band and offer a spatial resolution of less than 1 metre.

The last SAR-Lupe satellite is planned for launch this summer.

Lockheed Completes Load Tests On MUOS

Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] completed static load tests on the first satellite in the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) constellation of communications satellites for mobile warfighters, the company announced.

The test, which validated the satellite’s strength and ability to sustain its launch weight of over 13,000 pounds, was conducted by a team of engineers from Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Newtown, Pa., and ATK, Corona, Calif.

The test demonstrated that the structure can carry the physical loads it will experience during manufacturing, launch and operation in geosynchronous orbit.

MUOS satellites will be the largest of the Lockheed A2100 spacecraft series. The first MUOS satellite along with the associated ground system are scheduled for on-orbit handover to the Navy in 2010.

The team is now preparing to deliver the spacecraft core structure to the Lockheed Mississippi Space & Technology Center at the John C. Stennis Space Center, while the panels and other components will be shipped to Lockheed facilities in Newtown for the start of payload integration.

The MUOS core propulsion structure and the integrated payload module are scheduled for delivery to Sunnyvale later this year for the start of final assembly, integration and test.

With all options exercised, the contract for up to five satellites has a total potential value of $3.26 billion.

The Lockheed Martin MUOS team, which includes General Dynamics Corp. [GD] C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz.; and The Boeing Co. [BA] unit Satellite Systems, El Segundo, Calif.; has been given the green light by the Navy and Department of Defense to proceed with follow-on MUOS spacecraft.

MUOS will deliver simultaneous voice and data services, as well as the ability to increase capacity and features over the life of the program.

Users of the current Ultra High Frequency Follow-On system will have improved service and complete interoperability with the MUOS legacy payload which ensures a smooth transition to the next generation of 3G mobile user equipment.

Launch Schedule

2008

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 1:40 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: May 31 +

Mission: STS-124

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 5:01 p.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: June 15

Mission: OSTM

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

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

Launch Time: 4:47 a.m. EDT/1:47 a.m. PDT

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

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: Aug. 28 +

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. 14 +

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: Oct. 16 +

Mission: STS-126

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

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: Nov. 5

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: 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. 4 +

Mission: STS-119

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Description: Space Shuttle Discovery launching on assembly flight 15A, will deliver the fourth starboard truss segment to the International Space Station.

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. 1

Mission: NOAA-N Prime

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

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

Description: NOAA-N Prime is the latest polar-orbiting satellite developed by NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA uses two satellites, a morning and afternoon satellite, to ensure every part of the Earth is observed at least twice every 12 hours. NOAA-N will collect information about Earth’s atmosphere and environment to improve weather prediction and climate research across the globe.

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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