Encyclopedia Astronautica
USA SSDC


American agency. US Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, USA.

AKA: USA.

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  • Agency Agencies or institutions overseeing design, development, construction, or operation of space-related systems. More...

USA SSDC Chronology


1997 January 29 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC32. Launch Vehicle: Storm-2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • MTTV/MTD-2 PAC Targ Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1997 June 24 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV.
  • IFT-1A EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi). Non-intercept fly-by to assess the performance of the Boeing-built EKV seeker, collect target phenomenological data, and evaluate (post-test) target-modeling and discrimination algorithms. Boeing was not chosen as the NMD EKV contractor, partly as a result of its system's performance on this test.

1997 September 24 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC32. Launch Vehicle: Storm-2.
  • MTTV-4/Patriot Targ Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi).

1998 January 16 - . 03:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV.
  • IFT-2 EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi). Non-intercept fly-by to assess the performance of the Raytheon-built EKV seeker, collect target phenomenological data, and evaluate (post-test) target-modeling and discrimination algorithms. Raytheon was chosen as the NMD EKV contractor, partly as a result of its system's performance on this test.

1999 October 3 - . 02:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV.
  • IFT-3 EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 230 km (140 mi). EKV anti-ballistic missile interceptor launched from Kwajalein Atoll by a two-stage PLV. Intercept of the MSLS launched by Minuteman 2 from Vandenberg was successful. Element test of the EKV, not an end-to-end system test, which relied on a surrogate booster vehicle and range assets to define the deployment basket and deliver the EKV to that location. Once deployed, the EKV operated autonomously to intercept the mock RV. Due to a malfunctioning Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which normally was used to position the EKV for the intercept, a backup method of locating the target had to be exercised. The EKV called upon its step-stare capabilities (which were used only during off-nominal circumstances) to extend its field of view since the target was not where it was anticipated. After executing that procedure, the EKV acquired its target.

2000 January 19 - . 02:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV.
  • IFT-4 EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 230 km (140 mi). Unsuccessful ABM test. First end-to-end system test (intercept attempt) using NMD prototype elements (except the IFICS) and range assets to approximate the objective system. The EKV was again successfully delivered by a surrogate booster and separated into the deployment basket. The failure to intercept was directly traceable to the cryogenic cooling system of the EKV, which failed to cool the IR sensors down to their operating temperatures in time because of an obstructed cooling line.

2000 February 5 - . 14:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. Launch Complex: Fort Wingate LC96. Launch Vehicle: Hera. LV Configuration: Hera 18.
  • MBRV-3/PAC-3 DT-5 Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

2000 July 8 - . 04:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV IFT-5.
  • IFT-5 EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 230 km (140 mi). ABM test failure. Second end-to-end system test (intercept attempt) using NMD prototype elements and range assets to approximate the objective system. The IFICS served as the communication link between the BMC3 and EKV. The EKV did not separate from the surrogate booster due to an apparent failure in the 1553 data bus in the booster.

2000 October 14 - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. Launch Complex: Fort Wingate LC96. Launch Vehicle: Storm-2. LV Configuration: Storm-2 MTTV.
  • PAC-3 DT-6 Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 104 km (64 mi).

2001 February 20 - . 18:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Wake Island. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: SR19/SR19.
  • TCMP-3B Sensors mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

2001 March 31 - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. Launch Complex: Fort Wingate LC96. Launch Vehicle: Hera. LV Configuration: Hera 19/MBRV-3.
  • MBRV-3/PAC-3 DT-8a Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi).

2001 July 9 - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. Launch Complex: Fort Wingate LC96. Launch Vehicle: Hera. LV Configuration: Hera 20/MBRV-1E.
  • MBRV-1E/PAC DT/OT-9a Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 145 km (90 mi).

2001 July 15 - . 03:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV IFT-6.
  • IFT-6 EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Successful ABM test, a repeat of IFT-5. The US Army then launched the Lockheed Martin PLV, consisting of SR19 and M57A1 stages, to an intercept it at an altitude of 225 km. The test was part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defence Segment of the NMD (National Missile Defense) program.The prototype X-Band radar (XBR) used in IFT-6 could not process all the information it was receiving quickly enough, causing it to falsely report that the interceptor had missed its target. But in fact the interceptor functioned correctly, and the kill was confirmed by sensors on a satellite, a 747 jet, and ground stations. Starting in IFT-6, a recurring error was identified in the EKV's target position estimation data. The glitch never interfered with the effectiveness of the EKV, and was attributed to degraded EKV inertial measurement unit output data caused by electromagnetic interference from test-unique cabling.

2001 December 4 - . 05:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV IFT-7.
  • IFT-7 EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Summary: Successful ABM intercept test, a repeat of IFT-6..

2002 March 16 - . 02:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV IFT-8.
  • IFT-8 EKV ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Summary: Successful ABM intercept test, with additional decoy target balloons being introduced..

2002 March 21 - . 14:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Wingate. Launch Complex: Fort Wingate LC96. Launch Vehicle: Hera. LV Configuration: Hera 21/MBRV-3.
  • PAC-3 OT/DT-1 Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi).

2002 April 25 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: Storm-2.
  • PAC-3 OT/DT-4 Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2002 May 30 - . 02:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wake Island. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: SR19/SR19. LV Configuration: SR19/SR19 MBRV-2.
  • PAC-3 OT-2a Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 270 km (160 mi).

2002 October 15 - . 02:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV IFT-9.
  • IFT-9 EKV Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Successful intercept. The target suite consisted of a mock warhead and a number of decoys launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, towards the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein. IFT-9 (largely a replay of IFT-8) was designed to increase confidence in the GMD capability to execute hit-to-kill intercepts. Overall, the test execution was nominal although the EKV experienced the track gate anomaly previously observed in IFT-7 and IFT-8. The software changes incorporated in IFT-9 to mitigate this problem were not successful. The Aegis SPY-1 radar was used for the first time in a national missile defense capacity.

2002 December 11 - . 08:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Payload Launch Vehicle. LV Configuration: Minuteman 2 PLV PLV IFT-10.
  • IFT-10 EKV Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA SSDC. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Attempted anti-ballistic missile night intercept. The EKV failed to separate from the surrogate boost vehicle. The failure to separate was attributed to a quality control failure combined with shank and vibration loads on the EKV. As a result, corrective measures taken to fix the track gate anomaly found in previous tests could not be tested. GMD suspended intercept flight testing after IFT-10. IFT-11 and IFT-12 that employed the problematic surrogate booster were eliminated from the schedule.

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