SACRAMENTO, Calif. --- Aerojet's liquid propellant Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) played a critical role in the successful Dec. 3 test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment (GMDS) program (formerly called the National Missile Defense program). Firing its thrusters on command, the DACS maneuvered the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) into a direct collision with the mock enemy warhead 140 miles above the Pacific Ocean.
"This is a great success for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment program and for Aerojet's DACS, which continues to provide reliable propulsion for the kill vehicle," said Warren Yasuhara, Aerojet Missile Defense program manager.
This test (IFT-7) began with the launch of a mock enemy missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The missile contained the mock enemy warhead and a decoy, both of which separated in space. The missile was a refurbished Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile with an Aerojet second-stage, solid propellant motor.
Satellites detected the "enemy" missile, and an interceptor called the Ground Based Interceptor was launched from the Reagan Test Site in the central Pacific Ocean. The Payload Launch Vehicle (PLV) boosted the EKV into space, powered by a first-stage that was a Minuteman second-stage solid propellant motor. Aerojet built the motor originally and later modified it under the U.S. Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program.
As the test scenario progressed, the EKV separated from the PLV in space more than 1,400 miles from the incoming mock enemy warhead. The EKV's on-board sensors located the warhead and distinguished it from the decoy. Aerojet's DACS thrusters fired, positioning the kill vehicle into a collision with the warhead as the two objects closed in on each other at more than 15,000 miles per hour.
Aerojet's EKV DACS has performed as commanded on four GMDS integrated system tests (IFT-3, IFT-4, IFT-6, and IFT-7). On the only other test to include the DACS (IFT-5), the PLV did not command the EKV to separate and the DACS was never engaged.
Aerojet supplies the DACS to the Raytheon Company for integration into the EKV. Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space provides the PLV. Boeing is the prime contractor for the GMDS program, which is directed by the Joint Program Office of the Department of Defense Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.
Aerojet, a GenCorp company, is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the space electronics, missile and space propulsion, and smart munitions and armaments markets.
Aerojet Propulsion System Steers Vehicle In Successful Missile Defense Test