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Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman built three STSS demonstration satellites for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The first satellite, which had a classified mission, was launched in May 2009. After completing its test program, it was transferred Jan. 31 to the control of Air Force Space Command to continue supporting the service’s space situational awareness mission.

The two unclassified STSS satellites were launched in September 2009 on a single United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket. During an extended on-orbit check-out and calibration phase that concluded in November, the satellites tracked multiple missile launches in the early boost and post-boost phases and demonstrated the ability to relay data from one satellite to the other.

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Category: Science