American space sensor will catch Russian hypersonic missiles

WASHINGTON, (BM) – $ 121 million is the investment in the first phase of building a prototype hypersonic and ballistic space sensor. Its main task will be to intercept hypersonic missiles. This sensor is a satellite and will launch into low Earth orbit. The contractor of the project is the company L3Harris.

The American government’s initiative is dictated by Russia and China, which in recent years have advanced in the development of these weapons [hypersonic missiles – ed.]. In this way, Washington seeks to create a whole new space architecture.

Hypersonic missiles, as the name suggests, move at hyper speed. A distinctive feature is their ability to maneuver between the already built and existing architecture of ground sensors. With the tools currently available around the world, they are difficult to intercept. The American edition says that Washington has infrared sensors in geosynchronous orbit at the moment, but they cannot intercept such weapons.

Dozens of new satellites

The United States plans to build and send dozens of new satellites into low Earth orbit. The US military will synchronize them with the already existing infrared sensors mentioned above. The reason is this: the new satellites will be closer to Earth. In this way, they will quickly detect and “see” the launch of a hypersonic rocket. The problem is that when they are closer to Earth, the satellites have a limited field of view. Here comes the vital role of infrared sensors in geosynchronous orbit. Their larger field of view will allow the US air defense to track the hypersonic missile since its launch and correctly calculate its flight trajectory using existing infrared sensors.

It all started in 2019

Nearly two years ago, Washington decided to launch this project. We also wrote about this possibility back then, and according to initial data, the United States expects to send at least 20 satellites into low orbit.

Several companies participated in the proposal development project. These were L3Harris, Northrop Grumman, Leidos, and Raytheon Technologies. Today, it is clear that L3Harris is the company that will have the difficult task of developing a prototype that will form the basis of the Pentagon’s new satellite architecture.

We remind you that L3Harris is a world leader in developing and producing sensitive and precise satellite equipment. Last year, for example, the company won a contract worth nearly $ 200 million to acquire four wide-field satellites. The project was for a total of eight such satellites. Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, built the other four satellites.

The already built satellites from SpaceX and L3Harris are also part of the whole equation and should solve the hypersonic missile threat. The launch of these satellites is planning for next year. A year later, in 2023, L3Harris is expected to complete a hypersonic and ballistic tracking space sensor prototype.


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boyko nikolov

Boyko Nikolov
Editor-in-chief and
conceptual creator

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