Sponsored by the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and built at Orbital ATK's satellite manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona, NFIRE was originally designed as a one-year mission to collect data from exhaust "plume" observations of boosting rockets with the intent to advance launch detection and tracking systems.
The addition of the Laser Communications Terminal (LCT) expanded NFIRE's mission to assess viability of satellite-to-satellite high speed communication links.
NFIRE launched in April 2007 aboard an Orbital ATK Minotaur I from Wallops Island, Virginia.
NFIRE received a little more than half of what was requested in fiscal year 2004:$44.5 million instead of $82 million.
Unlike the contentious missile defense program, which includes space-based interceptors like NFIRE, there are several concepts on the table to win a future battle for low earth orbit by using munitions and disruption weapons from aircraft or ground stations, according to experts and Air Force documents.
Fly, last year's Irish St Leger winner, returned to top form when landing the pounds 2,000 Bank Of Ireland Lifetime Open over 525 yards at Limerick on Saturday in 29.09sec.