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Another On-orbit Success for STSS : A Space Tracking and Surveillance System demonstration satellite autonomously transferred target track data from its acquisition sensor to its tracking sensor for the first time during a recent exercise, prime contractor Northrop Grumman announced Monday. "This is a major success for the STSS program," said Gabe Watson, who leads Northrop's missile warning programs. During this demonstration, the STSS satellite detected the beam fired by a ground laser located at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and then transitioned from acquisition mode to track mode, according to Northrop. The ability to execute that sequence of functions is critical for the STSS to successfully detect and track ballistic missiles in flight. Northrop built two STSS satellites for the Missile Defense Agency. Since their placement in orbit about a year ago, MDA has used them to track US ballistic missiles during flight tests to refine concepts for space-based missile tracking.