Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mitex


American military anti-satellite system. 3 launched, 2006.06.21 (USA 187) to (USA 189).

The Microsatellite Technology Experiment was a classified mission, believed to be a test of prototype inspect-and-disable satellites that would control the constellation of geostationary satellites on which the world depends for television reception and communications.

Each microsatellite, one built by Orbital Sciences, and the other by Lockheed Martin, had a mass of about 250 kg. They were believed to be solar-powered and equipped with propulsion systems that would allow them to rendezvous with geosynchronous satellites. Once they had reached the satellite, they would presumably be capable of destroying, disabling, or jamming them.

This was a long-suspected or -expected capability, since geosynchronous satellites had proven vital in modern netcentric warfare in providing high-bandwidth communications with forces on the ground. Such satellites could either jam or interfere with such communications in more sophisticated ways. They also could interfere with communications satellites broadcasting information contrary to American interests; disable missile early warning or weather satellites of the enemy; or inspect and determine the real nature of enemy satellites which may also have a wartime search-and-destroy role (there had been Russian launches in this suspect category).

To deliver the two satellites to near-synchronous orbit, a Naval Research Laboratory liquid propellant bus equipped with a 400 N main engine and solar panels was used. This suggested that this was a satellite dispenser that could deliver two such inspector satellites to near their targets at geosynchronous orbit, or larger numbers in lower orbits (such as MEO navigation or communication satellite constellations). In an operational scenario the satellites perhaps would remain docked to the bus in orbits in the same planes as enemy constellations of interest, only to be released in the event of war.

AKA: Microsatellite Technology Experiment.
Gross mass: 250 kg (550 lb).
First Launch: 2006.06.21.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta 7925-9.5 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K + 1 x Star 48B with 2.9 m (9.5 foot) diameter fairing) More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...
  • OSC American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Orbital Sciences Corporation, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

Mitex Chronology


2006 June 21 - . 22:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. Launch Pad: SLC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925-9.5. LV Configuration: Delta 7925-9.5 D316.
  • USA 187 - . Payload: MiTEx-A. Mass: 225 kg (496 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: OSC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Mitex. USAF Sat Cat: 29240 . COSPAR: 2006-024A. Apogee: 36,222 km (22,507 mi). Perigee: 184 km (114 mi). Inclination: 25.2500 deg. Period: 639.26 min. The Microsatellite Technology Experiment was a classified mission, believed to be a test of prototype inspect-and-disable satellites that would control the constellation of geostationary satellites on which the world depends for television reception and communications. Each microsatellite, one built by Orbital Sciences, and the other by Lockheed Martin, had a mass of about 250 kg. They were believed to be solar-powered and equipped with propulsion systems that would allow them to rendezvous with geosynchronous satellites. Once they had reached the satellite, they would presumably be capable of destroying, disabling, or jamming them. To deliver the two satellites to near-synchronous orbit, a Naval Research Laboratory liquid propellant bus equipped with a 400 N main engine and solar panels was used.
  • USA 188 - . Payload: MiTEx-B. Mass: 225 kg (496 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Manufacturer: Lockheed. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Mitex. USAF Sat Cat: 29241 . COSPAR: 2006-024B.
  • USA 189 - . Payload: MiTEx Vehicle. Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Mitex. USAF Sat Cat: 29242 . COSPAR: 2006-024C.

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