The U.S. Space Force successfully launched into orbit a ‘space domain awareness’ military satellite that it designed and built in less than a year, under a significantly tighter timeframe than what’s usual for space launches.
The satellite, dubbed Odyssey, is the first launch of the Space Force’s secret, special projects unit. Odyssey hitched a ride inside a Northrop Grumman Pegasus rocket fixed to the bottom of a modified ‘Stargazer’ L-1011 carrier jet and launched from California‘s Vandenberg Space Force Base early Sunday morning.
The hush-hush mission is the Space Force’s first trial with condensing the timeline it typically takes to launch vehicles into space.
According to a press release from aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman, it ‘seeks to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility into the launch enterprise in order to respond to dynamic changes in the space domain.’
As its guinea pig, the Space Force used Odyssey, which is a surveillance satellite used to detect foreign objects floating in space.