The US put experimental military satellites into orbit

The Atlas 5 rocket launched a payload into orbit for the US Space Forces as part of the USSF-12 mission. It consists of a new generation attack warning satellite and six secret experimental small satellites.

USSF-12 launch. Source:

USSF-12 launch is successful

On the night of June 1-2, an Atlas V rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral as part of the USSF-12 mission. The launch was carried out in the interests of the US Space Forces and it was supposed to take place on Thursday, but did not take place due to weather conditions. At the same time, according to the statements of officials, the load was successfully placed into the calculated orbit thanks to the Centaur upper stage.

The USD 1.1 billion USSF-12 mission involves placing military demonstration vehicles in orbit. It is known that the payload of the mission is being formed from the WFOV missile attack warning satellite and six small satellites united in a ring with a diameter of 5 meters.

Experimental military satellites remain secret

The peculiarity of this launch is its extreme secrecy. So USSF-12 was supposed to launch back in April. But then the launch did not take place for reasons that still remain undeclared. And little is known about what experimental military satellites themselves are. 

So it is mainly known about the WFOV that it will operate in geostationary orbit and is designed to warn of a missile attack. Its peculiarity is that it weighs about 1000 kg. This is about four times less than that of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) devices, which are now used by the US military for the same purpose. 

Launch Video

WFOV was developed by Millennium Space Systems in accordance with a contract signed in 2016. It is also known that infrared equipment is used on the satellite, but thanks to what it was possible to obtain such a mass saving is unknown. It is expected that such devices will become the basis of a new satellite network after SBIRS, whose components are still being launched into space, has served its time.

As for the six small satellites, almost nothing is known about them. Even what they are intended for remains a mystery. It is only known that they are also designed to demonstrate new technologies. And the US Department of Defense is directly interested in launching them.

According to

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