Discoverer II History
In late February 1998 DARPA, the Air Force and the NRO signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing a joint program to undertake a "Space-based Radar Risk Reduction and Demonstration Program" and a Joint Program Office (JPO) to execute the program. In April the joint SBR HRR-GMTI/SAR demonstration program was designated Discoverer II. This new objective constellation of 24 satellites configured with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) would allow for direct tasking control to a deployed Joint Task Force [JTF] tactical commander. The constellation would allow for a very rapid revisit rate (about 15 minutes) to most areas of the earth.
On February 22, 1999, three contractor teams were selected for Phase One of the Discoverer II space-based radar technology demonstration program. The selected contractor teams are lead by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Littleton, Colo., Spectrum Astro Inc., Gilbert, Arizona, and TRW Defense Systems Division, Redondo Beach, Calif. Each Phase One team has been awarded a firm, fixed-price, initial contract valued at about $10 million. A contract option was planned to complete the 18-month Phase One effort. The total Phase One effort was estimated at about $60 million. Each team was to perform concept definition, system capabilities and performance trade studies, cost-performance trade-off analyses and preliminary system design. Phase One of the Discoverer II program was to last about 18 months and allow the most promising contractor teams to complete preliminary prototype system designs. At the end of Phase One, one or two contractors was to be selected to proceed to Phase Two to perform final design and fabrication of the two Discoverer II satellites.
The Discoverer II R&D prototype demonstration program was to identify and validate the technology growth path required to a launch a capability by 2008. If full funding was approved, deployment of the additional 22 STARLITES was projected by DARPA for FY03-05. Launches using GFE EELV or Delta II class launch vehicles were programmed for 4th quarter FY 2003 and 1st quarter FY 2004.
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