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MDA Seeks to Demonstrate Enemy Missile Tracking Capabilities via 2 CubeSats; Walt Chai Quoted

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The Missile Defense Agency launched two nanosatellites aboard Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket in late June as part of its CubeSat Networked Communications Experiment Block 1 mission, DOD News reported Monday.

MDA will perform a 90-day demonstration with an option to extend that to up to a year as part of the Nanosat Testbed Initiative aimed at ensuring that the two CubeSats can transmit and receive signals to networks and radios.

"These satellites will test key technologies that mitigate risk for systems, such as the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor," said Walt Chai, director for space sensors at MDA. 

“The CNCE Block 1 mission will demonstrate the viability of advanced communications technologies using reduced size, weight and power in support of missile defense communications architectures,” Chai added.

MDA is building the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor payload that could help warfighters detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missile threats once fielded on satellites in low-Earth orbit. 

"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. The CubeSats will allow the agency to demonstrate the capabilities quickly and affordably," Chai said.

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