Missile Defense Agency confirms deployment of cubesats launched by Virgin Orbit

MDA cubesats were two of seven government and commercial payloads launched during Virgin Orbit’s second operational mission.

WASHINGTON – Two Missile Defense Agency cubesats launched on June 30 aboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne began successfully communicating with ground stations last week, the agency said on July 12.

The satellites are the first in a series of network communication experiments planned by MDA to demonstrate space mesh networking and satellite-to-ground links. Cubesats will mimic two suborbital missile intercepting vehicles and test communications between them.

“The transmission of data between interceptors, sensors and communication systems is essential to a missile defense architecture that must rapidly identify, track and destroy incoming enemy missiles before they reach their targets,” MDA said. in a press release.

MDA is developing a payload of hypersonic and ballistic sensors to detect and track missile threats.

“The missile defense architecture will require communications between interceptors, sensors, and command and control systems to quickly identify, track and destroy incoming enemy missiles before they reach their targets. Cubesats will allow the agency to demonstrate capabilities quickly and affordably, ”said Walt Chai, MDA’s director for space sensors.

MDA cubesats were two of seven government and commercial payloads launched on June 30 during Virgin Orbit’s second operational mission.

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne is launched from a Boeing 747 aircraft.


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