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MSX

NSSDCA/COSPAR ID: 1996-024A

Description

The Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) was a test project of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). Its primary purpose was to gather data over a wide-wavelength interval to demonstrate the feasibility of identifying and tracking ballistic missiles during their midcourse flight phase. Its multispectral instruments were capable of obtaining wide band and spectral images in the range of ultraviolet to infrared wavelengths (110 nm to 28,000 nm). The instruments were also utilized for civilian aeronomic and auroral studies.

The 5.1 m spacecraft consisted of three sections each of 1.5 m x 1.5 m cross-section to house three payload components: an electronics section, an 8.5 K frozen hydrogen section, and an instruments section. The three instruments were: SPIRIT III (Space Infrared Imaging Telescope), a five-color, high-spatial resolution scanning radiometer and a six-channel, high-spectral resolution, Fourier-transform spectrometer; UVISI (Ultraviolet and Visible Imagers and Spectrographic Imagers), five spectrographic imagers and four UV/visible imagers with capabilities from the far ultraviolet through visible wavelengths; and, Space-Based Visible (SBV), a visible band telescope with a six-inch aperturn, a charge-coupled device, and image processing electronics. Also on-board were the On-board Signal and Data Processor (OSDP), which provided real-time signal processing for target detection and tracking for data generated by SPIRIT III, sensors for monitoring and measuring instrument contamination and degradation of performance largely due to outgassing, and a number of small (2.0 cm) reference spheres, deployed as reference objects from MSX for instrument calibration.

Alternate Names

  • Midcourse Space eXperiment
  • 23851

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1996-04-24
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 2700.0 kg
Nominal Power: 1200.0 W

Funding Agencies

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Navy (United States)
  • Air Force Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (United States)

Disciplines

  • Astronomy
  • Engineering
  • Earth Science
  • Planetary Science
  • Space Physics

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. Dieter K. Bilitza.

 

Personnel

NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Max R. PetersonProgram ManagerApplied Physics Laboratorymax.peterson@jhuapl.edu
Dr. John D. MillProject ScientistEnvironmental Research Institute of Michigan(ERIM)jmill@erim.org
Lcol Bruce D. Guilmain, USAFProgram ManagerUSAF Ballistic Missile Defense Organizationguilmain@technet1.jcte.jcs.mil

Other Sources of MSX Information/Data

MSX information (Applied Physics Laboratory)

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