New Space Force agency launches tracking layer satellites vs hypersonic missiles

FPI / April 12, 2023


By Richard Fisher

The Pentagon said it has deployed new military satellites that will eventually assist in tracking ultra-high-speed enemy hypersonic missiles.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster lifts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

The Space Development Agency, a new Space Force support, launched ten satellites atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster from Vandenberg Space Force Base as part of what the agency calls “Tranche 0” of its “proliferated warfighter space architecture,” or PWSA.

The satellites will “support the warfighter with a resilient network of integrated capabilities, including tracking of advanced missile threats, from low-Earth orbit,” the agency said.

“The orbiters are used as transport, and so-called tracking layer satellites will provide very fast communications links,” security correspondent Bill Gertz noted in an April 5 report for The Washington Times.

The current U.S. technology, which includes multibillion-dollar missile defense censors, is not able to defend against maneuverable hypersonice missiles, military commanders have told Congress.

Hypersonic missiles travel at speeds faster than Mach 5. Both China and Russia have deployed hypersonic missiles, and the Pentagon has been struggling to close the gap.

“The launch of the 10 satellites is the first of what the Pentagon envisions will be a network of hundreds of small spacecraft,” Gertz noted “Eighteen more satellites are set for launch in June as part of the initial network.”

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