MDA’s Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Clears Critical Design Review

  • Our Bureau
  • 02:22 PM, November 10, 2021
  • 1310
MDA’s Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Clears Critical Design Review
Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) Illustration

Northrop Grumman recently completed the critical design review of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) prototype for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

HBTSS satellites will provide continuous tracking and handoff to enable targeting of enemy missiles launched from land, sea or air. They are a critical part of the Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) multi-layered constellation of satellites, which can sense heat signatures to detect and track missiles from their earliest stages of launch through interception, Northrop said in a statement today.

HBTSS satellites are also designed to track threats with near global reach when prompted by other OPIR systems, well before they come into view of U.S. ground-based defenses.

Northrop Grumman received a $153 million contract from the MDA earlier this year for the Phase IIB portion of the HBTSS program and is on schedule to deliver the HBTSS prototype in 2023. After the HBTSS prototype is delivered, the company will conduct an on-orbit test to demonstrate its ability to continuously track and rapidly process its observations of hypersonic threats, as well as its ability to effectively hand off the information so the missile is intercepted.

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