Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MDA tests two-stage Ground-Based Interceptor

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has successfully conducted Booster Verification Test-1 (BVT-1), the first flight-test of the two-stage version of the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI). Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), California, at 1525 hours local time on 6 June, the booster performed fly-out manoeuvres and delivered an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) to a designated point in space.

Mission objectives included demonstrating pre-launch built-in test functionality, launch and fly-out of the two-stage GBI, verification of fairing and stage-separation systems, and accurate delivery of the EKV payload. Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) prime contractor Boeing described the flight as demonstrating "how an operationally configured EKV operates under stressful boundary conditions".

After separating from the second-stage booster, the EKV executed a variety of manoeuvres to collect data that would further prove its performance in space. A target missile was not launched for this flight-test, so there was no attempt to conduct an interception.

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