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U.S. Air Force Supports Successful Delta II STSS DEMO Launch

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket launches the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s STSS Demo payload at 8:20 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex – 17B here.  The launch service for the mission was provided on behalf of NASA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Carleton Bailie, United Launch Alliance)

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket launches the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s STSS Demo payload at 8:20 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex – 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch service for the mission was provided on behalf of NASA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Carleton Bailie, United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force supported the successful NASA-led launch of a Space Tracking and Surveillance System Demonstration (STSS Demo) aboard a Delta II booster Sept. 25, 2009. The system launched at 8:20 a.m. (EDT) from Space Launch Complex 17B here.

The STSS DEMO mission is specifically designed to support the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), a program that falls under the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The system allows for the detection, tracking, and interception of ballistic missiles in order to defend the United States, deployed forces, allies, and friends against enemy ballistic missiles. 

"The STSS DEMO mission is important to our nation's defense. Our team continues to work hard to ensure we are doing all we can to provide the support needed for such important missions to occur," said Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton Jr., 45th Space Wing commander. 

The 45th Space Wing personnel supported NASA's launch in a resource protection role, ensuring that the pad was fully operational. 

"We have a great team that does whatever it takes to ensure mission success. If one tiny detail is wrong the whole mission can not be successful. It is crucial for us to ensure the details are taken care of, all the while keeping the big picture in mind." said 1st Lt. Scott Nakatani, 5th Space Launch Squadron. The STSS DEMO configuration allows for object tracking after the boost phase and it provides trajectory information.