Credit: Boeing / Rocketdyne
AKA: Boost Vehicle Plus;Orbus. Status: Active. First Launch: 2001-08-31. Last Launch: 2004-01-09. Number: 3 . Thrust: 500.00 kN (112,400 lbf). Gross mass: 14,000 kg (30,000 lb). Height: 15.50 m (50.80 ft). Diameter: 1.02 m (3.34 ft). Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).
Lockheed with its Boost Vehicle Plus (BV-Plus) was selected by The Boeing Company in December 2001 to design, develop and test a boost vehicle for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program. It was one of two sources selected, the other being Orbital Sciences Corporation with its GBV OBV. The GMD System was a key element of the layered architecture of MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System for defending the United States, its Armed Forces overseas and its allies against limited ballistic missile attacks.
GMD began advanced development in 1998 with a $1.6 billion contract to Boeing. The GMD system was based on technologies pioneered by MDA in the 1980's and 1990's. By 2004 the research and development program had conducted several ground and flight tests to verify system performance against long-range ballistic missile targets. Boeing, as the prime contractor, was responsible for the development, test and integration of all the GMD elements, including Ground Based Interceptor (GBI), X-Band Radar Prototype, Battle Management, Command, Control and Communications systems, Upgraded Early Warning Radars and interfaces to the Defense Support Program.
The GMD System was designed to intercept and destroy hostile ballistic missiles during their midcourse phase of flight, before their reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. The GMD 64-kg Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) employed "hit-to-kill" technology to detect, discriminate and destroy an incoming missile's warhead using only force of impact, or kinetic energy. The EKV was to be delivered to the exoatmospheric endgame conditions by the GBI boost vehicle (6 km/s velocity within three minutes to a position 2300 km in front of the incoming target warhead).
Dummy EKV payload. Launch delayed from August, September, and December 18, 2003. Booster Verification Test -5 tested a three-stage booster configuration for use with the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense System. Built by Lockheed Martin Corp., the booster was one of two slated for use with the GMD system. The system was designed to intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles.