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13-Nov-00 | MSX’s new mission

Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX), a $1 billion satellite used by the Pentagon’s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to monitor missile warheads in flight, has been given a new purpose: space surveillance. Since MSX’s primary infrared sensor shut down in February 1997, Air Force Space Command has been using a secondary instrument, the Space-Based Visible Sensor, to scan deep space. In the past three years, MSX has catalogued nearly 150 orbiting objects — debris, spent rocket stages, and many defunct satellites — that were previously unknown or lost. MSX was launched aboard Delta 235 from Vandenberg on 24 April 1996. (SpaceViews, 07-Nov-00)

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