The improved technology of the DSP satellites
greatly improved global awareness.
In their 22,300-mile, geosynchronous orbits, DSP satellites help protect the United States and its allies by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations.
The first DSP satellite launched in the early 1970s.
The DSP satellites use a mature infrared technology but have a limited tracking capacity.
The DSP satellites begin transmitting data regarding the Russian missile into the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) architecture, the point of entry being one of a network of communications facilities that pick up the satellite's signal.
Based on the information received from the DSP satellites and ground radars, the interceptor is aimed into the path of the oncoming warhead(s), decoys, and debris and when it comes within a certain distance of its target it releases its own kill vehicle.
Rotating in 22,000 mile-plus geosynchronous orbits, DSP satellites use an infrared sensor to detect heat from missile and booster plumes against the earth's background.
Although it currently uses only the geosynchronous DSP satellites to perform the warning mission, ultimately a constellation of high- and low-orbit SBIRS satellites will provide global and theater early warning to war-fighters.
The DSP satellites
were in fixed orbits over the equator and viewed Iraq about every 12 sec.' Data from the satellite's 12-ft infrared telescopes were routed by military communications satellites to ground-based computers at the US Space Command's Missile Warning Center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs, CO.