The Space and Missile Systems Center has issued a $222.5 million contract to continue supporting the Defense Program Support constellation, a legacy system that helps detect ballistic missile launches, nuclear detonations and space launches.

Since the first payload was launched in 1970, DSP satellites have contributed to America’s missile warning architecture by using infrared sensors in geosynchronous orbit to detect ballistic missile launches all around the world. The final DSP payload was launched in 2007. Northrop Grumman was the prime contractor for all DSP satellites.

While the constellation has been superseded by the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), DSP satellites continue to operate on orbit. According to Northrop Grumman’s website, the satellites have exceeded their design lives by 125 percent.

And this new $222.5 million contract will help extend the constellation’s lifetime even further.

Under the decade-long contract, Northrop Grumman will provide “on-orbit satellite and anomaly resolution support, root cause analysis, mission threat analysis, mission test bed and space awareness and global exploitation,” which will help extend the lifetime of the constellation.

Work is expected to be completed March 31, 2030.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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