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May 2000

Titan 4B Launches USAF DSP-20 Satellite

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A Lockheed Martin Titan 4B/IUS successfully launched the twentieth USAF Defense Support Program satellite (DSP 20) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, pad SLC 40 at 9:01 a.m. PDT (1401 UTC) May 8. The launch cost US$432 million, and the classified missile-detection satellite US$250 million. The satellite, built by TRW Space and Electronics Group of Redondo Beach, Calif., and Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif., will orbit in a geosynchronous orbit.

The 2,350 kg (5,180 lbm) satellite has 1.275 kW of power, and is designed for a three year design life, with a five year goal. The satellite has improved hardening against the electromagnetic pulse produced by nuclear weapons. Three DSP satellites remain to be launched, after which it will be replaced by the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS).

This is the 29th Titan 4 launched since 1989. In 1985, the U.S. Air Force initially selected the Martin Marietta Astronautics division (now Lockheed Martin), Denver, to build and launch 10 Titan 4s. In 1986 the contract was increased to 23 vehicles, and, in November 1989, the contract was extended to 41. The USAF will next use a Titan 4B, in about six months, to launch a Milstar military communications satellite. Lockheed Martin's contract with the U.S. Air Force to build the Titan 4 runs through 2003.

 


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May 8, 2000

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