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Multiple Spacecraft Dispenser

In 1971, as a result of work on the Solrad satellites, Aeronutronic was awarded a contract to design the control system for the Multiple Spacecraft Dispenser (MSD), which was to deploy three satellites in a triangular orbit pattern. The satellites were treated as “black boxes” with only their masses and dimensions specified. NRL implemented our design, and the system was successfully deployed in 1976. This apparently was the prototype flight for the first-generation Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS). Satellite tracks show that the Navy deployed seven subsequent MSD/NOSS combinations. There have been frequent sightings and videos by amateur astronomers of the solar illuminated triads moving across the night sky. Some have reported them as UFOs.