Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: NASA
American military surveillance satellite. One launch, 2000.03.12. The Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) was a space-based research and development project sponsored by the U.

S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. MTI's primary objective was to demonstrate advanced multispectral and thermal imaging, image processing, and associated technologies that could be used in future systems for detecting and characterizing facilities producing weapons of mass destruction using radiometrically accurate, high spatial resolution, multispectral imaging.

MTI technologies and experimental data also would be useful in developing future Department of Defense operations support and targeting systems.

The MTI satellite carried a sophisticated telescope that collected day and night images of the Earth in 15 spectral bands ranging from the visible to long-wave infrared. The unique imager, designed and built by a government and industry team led by Sandia National Laboratories and calibrated in a special facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, gave the satellite performance previously achievable only in a laboratory setting. Hughes Research Laboratories in Santa Barbara, CA, built the focal plane array using three sensor chip assemblies with 12.5- and 50-Ám pixels. The detectors were made of Si, InSb and HgCdTe. The instrument gathered light via a three-mirror anastigmatic optical assembly built by Hughes Danbury Optical Systems in Danbury, CT.

The satellite also carried a High-energy X-ray Spectrometer (HXRS) sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center and the Czech Republic's Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, and developed by Space Devices, Ltd. of the Czech Republic. This instrument would collect data needed to better understand a rare species of solar flare associated with high-energy particle storms that could endanger astronauts and damage space equipment.

The Air Force Space and Missile Center's (SMC) Test and Evaluation Directorate launched the satellite into polar orbit on an Orbital Sciences Corporation Taurus rocket. The MTI satellite was launched into 555km circular orbit inclined at 97 degrees. The satellite's sun-synchronous orbit around the poles, put it at any given point at about the same local time every day. The spacecraft solar arrays were in normal operation Sun directed with ~1 degree pointing accuracy. Data downlinks would be made to the Sandria receiving station in central New Mexico on twice daily basis.

Project milestones included: 1993: Instrument requirements studies; 1993: Preliminary Design Review; 1994: Major contracts for satellite components let; 2000: Satellite launch (4 years late to original plan).

First Launch: 2000.03.12.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Taurus Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and Castor-120 first stage. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Taurus American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Pad-launched launch vehicle using Pegasus upper stages and Castor-120 first stage. First launch used slightly larger Peacekeeper ICBM first stage instead of Castor-120. Under a 2002 contract from Boeing, Orbital developed a three-stage version of Taurus to serve as the interceptor boost vehicles for the US government's missile intercept system. The firm portion of the company's contract, awarded in early 2002, was valued at $450 million and extended through 2007. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Sandia American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Sandia Laboratories, Albequerque, USA. More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA/GSFC Orbital Information Group Website, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...

MTI Chronology

2000 March 12 - . 09:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576E. LV Family: Pegasus. Launch Vehicle: Taurus 1110. LV Configuration: Taurus 1110 T5.
  • MTI - . Mass: 587 kg (1,294 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: Los Alamos. Manufacturer: Sandia. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: MTI. USAF Sat Cat: 26102 . COSPAR: 2000-014A. Apogee: 609 km (378 mi). Perigee: 574 km (357 mi). Inclination: 97.4003 deg. Period: 96.42 min. Summary: Military Technology. Sandia Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI), aka USAF Space Test Program mission P97-3. The satellite was equipped with a hyperspectral imager for military target recognition / treaty monitoring applications..

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use