Model of DSP satellite launched by STS-44

Model of DSP satellite launched by STS-44

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Model of the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite launched by Shuttle Mission STS-44 in November 1991. DSP is designed to be the space- bourne segment of the USA's early warning system. Its infrared detector (tube at top right) is able to sense the heat from missile plumes against the Earth's background, and thus detect missile launches. It is also able to detect nuclear detonations. The first DSP satellites were launched in the early 1970s, the latest is 2 1/2 times the weight of the first (now 1,300kg), and has 3 times the number of detector elements (now 6,000). The design life is 5 years.

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Keywords: defence support program, dsp, dsp satellite, launch observation satellite, military satellite, missile observation satellite, observation satellite, satellite, satellites

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