STSS Readies for Launch

Posted: August 20, 2009 in delta II, Missile Defense, Space Surveillance, STSS

The Delta II booster for STSS, the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, is on the pad and processing towards a 15 Sep launch. Processing can now proceed as the Air Force Delta II for the recent GPS II R-21(M) satellite was on an adjacent pad. With that mission having departed on the morning of 17 Aug, STSS processing is good to go.

STSS is a system of two low-flying satellites and funding has come from the Missile Defense Agency. The program had been cancelled at one point and there is a five year break in press releases at its web site. According to DoD Buzz, STSS will provide a massive breakthrough in tracking equivalencies: equal to about 50 AN/TPY-2s or 20 sea-based x-band radars.

Though this effort was MDA funded, it has very significant space situational awareness (SSA) implications. Having SSA, broadly and informally defined as the ability to understand what’s going on in space, is a major Air Force concern and possible growth-area within the space domain.


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