Two Lockheed Martin Rockets Successfully Launched In Support of Missile Defense Test
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CA, 14-JUL-01 -- Two Lockheed Martin rockets were successfully launched today within minutes of each other, but 4,800 miles apart. These launches comprised the sixth such Integrated Flight Test, completing mission requirements that support the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) Ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment (BMDS) program. A Multi-Service Launch System (MSLS) rocket, launched by the Air Force, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 7:40 p.m. PDT carrying a suite of targets. A Payload Launch Vehicle (PLV) lifted off from the Kwajalein Missile Range, Republic of the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific approximately 21 minutes later carrying an Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) that acquired, tracked and discriminated between the targets and then destroyed the primary target. The MSLS is based on a refurbished, three-stage Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a new front section. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company designed and built the new front section and associated flight hardware for the MSLS and provides launch services under contract to the U.S. Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program, Space & Missile Systems Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. There have been seven MSLS flights, all successful.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company also is responsible for the PLV, under contract to Boeing, the GMDS prime contractor. The PLV is based on a refurbished, two-stage Minuteman II ICBM with a new front section. The PLV is serving as the surrogate Ground-Based Interceptor during the ongoing GMDS flight-test program. The company provides an Upper Stage Assembly (USA) that serves as the interface between the EKV and the Minuteman booster, as well as provides all the PLV avionics. The company is also responsible for payload and mission integration, as well as launch services. During the flight test, the PLV is responsible for delivering the EKV payload to a point in space at a designated time. Today's MSLS mission successfully deployed two inert targets, while the PLV successfully deployed the EKV.
The completion of these crucial tests requires the work of an extraordinary team, said Albert E. Smith, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. Lockheed Martin is proud to be a member of this team along with the BMDO, Air Force and the GMDS industry team led by Boeing.
The MSLS is designed to launch a variety of ballistic experiments, like the one launched today, carrying payloads weighing up to 1,450 pounds as far as 4,200 miles downrange. This was the eighth MSLS flight; all eight were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The first, a demonstration flight, was launched Sept. 27, 1996. The last six flights were part of tests similar to the one carried out today, and were launched January 16, 1997; June 23, 1997; Jan. 15, 1998; Oct. 2, 1999; Jan. 18, 2000; and July 7, 2000.
The PLV traces its heritage through the successful Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE) and Exo-Atmospheric Reentry Interceptor Subsystem (ERIS) programs. The PLV has been used on all six of the GMDS Integrated Flight Tests, and is currently planned for use through Integrated Flight Test-13.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates of a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.