U.S. Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Admiral John Hill said yesterday that the U.S. Department of Defense expects to launch two prototype satellites designed to track hypersonic and ballistic missiles into orbit in March 2023.
“We’re going to launch two interacting prototype satellites into space in March 2023,” he said at a U.S. House Armed Services Committee hearing.
According to Hill, the satellites will be put into orbit so that they can be used to “monitor tests” in the operational area of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command of the Armed Forces. “We will be collecting this data to prove the concept right,” Hill added. He said an entire satellite constellation for these purposes is possible in the future.
The director of the Missile Defense Agency noted that three private companies are currently involved in the creation of the U.S. hypersonic weapons defense system, which are “competing with each other.” Hill said that the Pentagon will choose one or two of them “later this year,” depending on the offers from these firms. The agency will work with them in the future.
Hill also said that the U.S. is developing systems designed to protect American ships, including aircraft carriers, from hypersonic weapons. But he gave no details.