This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at MSX

Other Designations: Midcourse Space Experiment. Class: Military. Type: SDI. Nation: United States. Agency: BMDO. Manufacturer: JHU/APL.

Midcourse Space eXperiment. The MSX observatory is a BMDO sponsored mission designed to demonstrate a variety of multispectral imaging technologies to identify and track ballistic missiles during flight. In addition, it will perform scientific investigations of the composition and dynamics of the Earth's atmosphere by observing ozone, chloroflourocarbons, carbon dioxide and methane. Spacecraft cost is estimated at $325M. Spacecraft: 3-axis stabilised to 0.01 deg using reaction wheels with knowledge to 9 rad (post-processed).108 Gbits data storage. Steerable X-band antennas with 2 kbps uplink and downlink up to 25 Mbps. Dual solar arrays (single-axis articulation) provide 1200 W BOL. NiH2 batteries. Payload: The instruments consist of 11 optical sensors making observations at a wide range of infrared, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths from 110 nm to 28 m. Primary instruments: SPIRIT III (Space Infrared Imaging Telescope), UVISI (Ultraviolet and Visible Imagers and Spectrographic Imagers), SBV (Space-Based Visible instrument), OSDP (On-board Signal and Data Processor), and reference objects (2 cm spheres to be deployed from MSX).
Initial project $ 800 million; reduced to $ 350 million. Started 1988. Utah State University built SPIRIT III, Hughes the OSDP.


Design Life: 4 years (with 18-20 months of coolant for IR senso. Total Length: 5.1 m. Maximum Diameter: 1.5 m. Total Mass: 2,700 kg.

MSX Chronology

24 April 1996 MSX Launch Site: Vandenberg . Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925. Mass: 2,700 kg. Perigee: 897 km. Apogee: 907 km. Inclination: 99.4 deg.

LEO. Midcourse Space eXperiment; missile detection technology tests; also used for auroral and atmospheric studies


Back to Index
Last update 12 March 2001.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments.
Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .