There’s hope at STRATCOM for space sensors in mid-course tracking of enemy missiles. Missile tracking after the booster rockets shut off…it’s like the holy grail in the complex equation of missile defense. Right now, infrared cues space-based systems as a rogue missile ascends. Radar handles the end-game. That’s why DoD officials moved the golf ball floating radar nearer to Hawaii when North Korea got rambunctious a few months back.
One senior STRATCOM official is hopeful that there’s “real potential for space-based missile defenses” where a combination of visible and infrared light sensors follow the missile as it completes its ascent, flies the middle of its course and nears the re-entry trajectory.
What’s the payoff? Timely mid-course tracking data from space. With that data, “we could then just solve the kinematics for interceptors, which is easier,” noted the official.
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