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Miniature Sensor Technology Integration (MSTI) (U)

Overview (U):

(U) The Miniature Sensor Technology Integration (MSTI) program, composed of three satellites (MSTI 1, MSTI 2, and MSTI 3), performed on-orbit functional demonstrations of low-cost integrated sensor technologies that support theater missile launch detection and tracking. The program demonstrated that small spacecraft can be placed on orbit for less than $50M within 12-24 months from the decision to proceed. Lessons learned through MSTI research and development efforts will be applied to other follow-on DOD and civilian systems such as the SBIRS and EOSAT (Earth Observation Satellite) systems.

Description (U):

(U) The MSTI program used innovative methodologies and practices to create a "faster, better, cheaper" program. The program used commercial off the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software, and an integrated government and industry product team. The MSTI team developed an automated mission planning process allowing spacecraft command loads to be generated from experimental plans in a single step. This process is hosted in an open architecture mission control center, which builds upon a similar concept developed during the successful Clementine mission. The mission control center facilitates the planning, on-orbit execution and distribution of over a Gigabyte of data a day to the MSTI science team in near real time.

(U) The first satellite MSTI-1 was launched into a low earth orbit (LEO) 21 November 1992 from Vandenberg AFB, California, on a NASA SCOUT booster and met all primary mission objectives, surpassing the 6-day data collection mission requirement. The spacecraft operated in its 400-km polar orbit until the spring of 1993 and collected in excess of 100,000 frames of background data in the medium wave infrared wavebands. The MSTI-1 spacecraft weighed 150 kg and was built for $19M in less than 12 months.

(U) MSTI-2 has a more sophisticated detection and tracking payload. MSTI-2 was launched into a LEO on 8 May 1994 aboard the last NASA SCOUT booster with a 6-month primary mission to demonstrate theater ballistic missile (TBM) tracking. The 170-kg MSTI-2 was injected into a 355-km x 455-km polar orbit and then executed an orbit raise to its final orbit--432-km circular, sun-synchronous, 97.13-degree inclination. On 8 May, MSTI-2 successfully acquired and tracked a Minuteman III launched from Vandenberg AFB. More than 3 million short wavelength infrared (SWIR) and medium wavelength infrared (MWIR) image frames were obtained from MSTI-2.

(U) The MSTI 3 satellite was successfully launched by the Air Force Space and Missile Center (AF-SMC) from Edwards Air Force Base on 16 May 1996 by a Pegasus launch vehicle, from a L1011 aircraft flying at 38,000 ft and injected into a 432KM, sun-synchronous orbit to achieve a 6:30 a.m. ascending node at a 97.13 degree inclination, and resulting in a 92 minute period.

(U) Its one-year mission was to gather extensive MWIR background clutter statistics at sufficient resolution to resolve whether tracking theater ballistic missiles (TBMs) in the coast phase against a warm earth background is achievable. MSTI-3 was instrumented with both short wave and medium infrared imagers are boresighted through common optics. The optical train is fed by a two axis gimbaled mirror with a field of regard augmented by the three axis control capability of the MSTI core bus.

(U) The MSTI 3 satellite collected oner 600,000 SWIR/MWIR image pairs. These data were used by SBIRS contractors in simulations and passband refinement. This database was retained in an innovative archive and retrieval system at AFRL -the PDAC- making this resource available for multiple users for years hence. The images were processed into large- and small-scale mosaics for statistical analysis. In addition, multiple users were able to task hundreds of collections called "special operations data collection events".

(U) The MSTI 3 satellite also provided many lessons learned regarding the "faster, cheaper, better" algorithm. It provided an experience base for future operations of remote sensing satellites applied to defense needs.

(U) The MSTI 3 satellite served as a target for the US Armys Mid-Infra-Red Advance Chemical Laser (MIRACL) at White Sands, NM, to demonstrate the capability of a laser to interfere with the optical train, and analyze the data to determine the effect on the optics. The test consisted of a 1 sec burst to locate the satellite, followed by a 10 sec burst. This was the first test of a LASER against an orbiting satellite.

(U) The MSTI 3 satellite was deorbited in December 1997.

User Impact (U):

(U) To be supplied.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Operational.

(U) Organizations and Funding:
  • (U) BMDO: Funding Source.
  • (U) Air Force: Funding Source.

Images (U):

MSTIMiniature Sensor Technology Integration (MSTI) Program Satellites (MSTI-1 and MSTI-2)
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Initiatives (U):
DSPDefense Support Program (DSP)
SBIRS HighSpace Based Infrared System (SBIRS) High
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
AF Space Test & Evaluation Div.Air Force Space Test and Evaluation Division
Space-Based WarningSpace-Based Warning Systems
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

Mini Sensor Tech Integ.-3
This Table Is Unclassified.

Lead Office (U):

(U) Air Force.

(U) DoD: USD(A&T) and OASD(C3I), Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Service Staff: SAF/AQS,Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Major Command: HQ AFSPC, Peterson AFB, CO
(U) Program Management: HQ AFPEO/SP, Pentagon, Washington, DC; SBIRS Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, CA

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Ed Zack, SMC/MT, Open Phone: (310) 363-2903, DSN 833-2903.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 10 September 1998

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

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