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US launches missile-defense satellites into orbit over Russia concerns

via SpaceX
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The US launched multiple satellites capable of detecting global missile launches, including two for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and four for the Space Development Agency (SDA).

The satellites will detect hypersonic, ballistic and other advanced threats earlier than terrestrial radars.

The launch came just hours after the House Intelligence Committee Chairman warned of a “serious national security threat” relating to Russia’s space capabilities.

Lt. Gen. Heath Collins, director of MDA, said, “This launch represents a pivotal time for MDA as we enter a new phase of missile warning, tracking and defense.”

“These HBTSS satellites are an essential step forward in our efforts to stay ahead of our adversaries,” he continued.

Derek Tournear, director of SDA, said, “Launching our Tracking satellites into the same orbit with the MDA HBTSS satellites is a win for both agencies.”

He continued, “We’ll be able to look at test targets from the same orbit at the same time, so that we can see how the two sensors work together. In Tranche 1, SDA will fly both sensor types as an operational system – medium-field-of-view demonstrating fire control, based on HBTSS design, and wide-field-of-view doing warning and tracking, based on T0 tracking design.”

Fox News later reported this threat involved Russian nuclear capabilities in space that could endanger satellites, including potential disruption of US military communications and reconnaissance, though the capability has not been deployed yet.

The White House national security adviser will meet with the congressional Gang of Eight to discuss the Russian threat, though the Senate members cannot attend due to being out of session.

The satellites aim to stay ahead of adversaries’ missile capabilities through improved early detection and tracking from space.

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