10/25/00 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- Air Force Space Command here became the new owner of the Midcourse Space Experiment satellite and its associated ground support infrastructure, recently.
The system provides deep space surveillance and has been operating since its launch in April 1996 under the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.
The MSX space-based system improves AFSPC's mission of collecting data related to deep space orbits of military and commercial satellites without the limitations inherent in ground systems. These ground system limitations include location sensitivity, dependence on weather and time-of-day requirements.
For the last three years, AFSPC worked with the BMDO, Johns Hopkins University, Md., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to extend the MSX satellite's life and ensure its viability as a space-based system for continued deep space surveillance.
"The Space-Based Space Surveillance Operation has helped to increase our revisit rates on militarily significant objects by 50 percent and has helped us to reduce our list of lost satellites by 80 percent, " said Master Sgt. Steve Ferner, AFSPC Space Control Mission Team. "It has also enabled us to develop search techniques that will be the standard used in operations for many generations to come."