September 27, 2010

Satellite Launches To Help Monitor Space Debris

The Air Force said that a U.S. space surveillance satellite was launched late Saturday from the central California coast.

Officials from Vandenberg Air Force Base said in a news release that the Minotaur 4 rocket launched at 9:41 p.m. Pacific time while carrying the Space Based Space Surveillance satellite launched.

The satellite was designed to detect and monitor space debris, as well as satellites and other space objects that could threaten national security, communications and weather satellites.

The ability to monitor from space helps to avoid limitations of monitoring from the ground.

Col. Richard Boltz said in a written statement that the satellite will "greatly enhance our existing space situational awareness," a move that is "vital to protecting our space-based assets."

"This evening's launch was our third in eight days," Boltz, commander of the 30th Space Wing, said. "I am extremely proud."

The satellite will be monitored and operated by the Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado built the satellite.


Image Caption: Team Vandenberg launched a Minotaur IV rocket at 9:41 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, from Space Launch Complex-8 here.The Minotaur IV launched the Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, a first-of-its-kind satellite that can detect and track orbiting space objects from space. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)


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