The STSS-Demo experiment represents part of a space-based constellation of low-earth orbits that will detect and provide critical tracking information about ballistic missiles globally. STSS’s sensors comprise a launch detection sensor and a movable tracking sensor to follow midcourse objects in space. The sensors employ both infrared and visible cameras, capable of tracking and discriminating missiles in midcourse; report on post-boost vehicle maneuvers, reentry vehicle deployments and the use of various types of decoys. The sensor will also provide post-engagement hit/kill assessment. The two satellites are designed to operate in tandem, were originally built as the ‘lower tier’ for the Space Based Infra-Red early warning system – a heterogeneous constellation of space-based sensors supporting programs. In 2002 SBIRs ‘lower tier’ was cancelled later to be revived as SSTS-Demo in 2006 under the newly established Agency. Each satellite weighs 2.244 ton and carries an infrared imaging sensor built by . The satellites were built by .
Lessons and experience gained from STSS Demo will be instrumental in leading a future MDA’s decision on the future deployment of a constellation of affordable, continuously available precision tracking space sensors.