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Northrop Grumman Corporation, in collaboration with the Air Force Association’s Schriever Chapter #147 has recently marked 50 years of successful operations of the Defense Support Program (DSP).

The DSP system of satellites has been in operation since 1970 and helps protect the US and its allies by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations. Continuous spacecraft upgrades have allowed DSP to provide accurate, reliable warning data in the face of changing requirements with no interruption in service. DSP is the legacy programme that invented the missile warning capabilities that the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) programme builds upon, along with the resilient and nuclear survivable systems the US and its allies depend on today.

“From its inception through today, DSP has remained a vital national security capability provided from space,” said John Daegele, Vice President and General Manager, Strategic Space Systems, Northrop Grumman. “We continue to build on our more than 50 years of experience as a leading missile warning provider to help ensure our global security and freedom.”

Northrop Grumman Experience

Northrop Grumman continues to leverage the expertise gained from DSP by providing critical capabilities to its customers. The company was selected by the Space Force to design and develop two polar-orbiting space vehicles under the Next-Gen OPIR system. The company is also tasked with developing a payload design for the Next-Gen OPIR Geosynchronous program. The 50th anniversary of DSP also follows the 10th year of space operations for the company’s Space Tracking and Surveillance System satellites that work with DSP to provide critical support for missile and national defence.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defence and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

The virtual event celebrating the 50th anniversary of DSP took place on 20 November and featured a range of speakers from the sector.

Jack Richardson