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U.S. launches satellites into orbit to track hypersonic and ballistic weapons

U.S. launches satellites into orbit to track hypersonic and ballistic weapons Photo: The USA will launch hypersonic and ballistic weapons tracking satellites (SpaceX /

The Space Force of the United States launches six satellites into low Earth orbit from a space launch complex at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, according to the United States Space Development Agency (SDA).

In the statement by the agency, it is noted that today's scheduled launch will include two satellites for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) of the MDA and four satellites for the Tracking Layer of the SDA Tranche T0.

The corresponding satellites are planned to be delivered into orbit by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the National Security Space Launch program.

"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," said Lt. Gen. Heath Collins, director of MDA.

Satellites for missile defense tracking

The U.S. Space Force, MDA, and SDA are collaborating on the development of HBTSS as a demonstrative prototype of a space sensor providing crucial fire control data necessary for countering modern missile threats.

The Agency's statement notes that this data is "critical" for ensuring the engagement of missile defense weapons, including intercepting hypersonic weapons in the "glide phase" - tracking from launch to destruction using HBTSS, enabling threat control from launch to interception regardless of the threat's location.

According to SDA Director Derek Tournear, launching tracking satellites into the same orbit as MDA's HBTSS satellites is a "win for both agencies."

"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," he explained.

Program features

In the operational plan, missile defense assets developed under the MDA HBTSS demonstration program will inform the PWSA SDA and detect hypersonic, ballistic, and other advanced threats earlier than ground-based radars, providing tracking data for hypersonic threats to be relayed through integrated missile defense systems.

SDA adds that they will build upon the success of fire control capabilities obtained from HBTSS.

Launch of satellites by the U.S. Space Force

A part of the U.S. Space Force, the SDA, had previously deployed 23 Tranche 0 satellites into orbit in 2023, including transport and tracking-level satellites, from the Vandenberg Space Force Base. The four Tracking Layer satellites, to be launched with HBTSS from MDA, were delivered by L3Harris Technologies and represent the latest satellites in the Tranche 0 program, bringing the total orbital constellation to 27.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) initiated the HBTSS program in 2018. In January 2021, MDA entered into additional transaction agreements with L3Harris Technologies Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corporation.

США запускають на орбіту супутники стеження за гіперзвуковим і балістичним озброєнням

The U.S. Space Force will launch satellites for tracking hypersonic and ballistic weapons (Photo: SpaceX /

U.S. reaction to Russia's intent to deploy nuclear weapons in space

It was previously reported that due to Russia's intention to deploy nuclear weapons in space, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, provided intelligence on a serious threat to US national security.

It was also reported that Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor to the US president, spoke about the threat to national security, but a broader briefing will take place on February 15.

CNN also reported that Mike Turner, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, provided intelligence on a serious threat to national security to all members of Congress for review. This may be related to Russia.