USAF to launch first SBIRS spacecraft


The first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous spacecraft for enhanced U.S. missile defense is ready for launch in Florida.

Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force have placed the satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, which is scheduled for liftoff Friday.

SBIRS GEO-1 will enhance early warning of missile launches around the globe, support the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, greatly expand technical intelligence gathering capability and provide enhanced situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.

“SBIRS GEO-1 represents the dawn of a new era in overhead persistent infrared surveillance that will greatly improve national security for years to come,” said Brig. Gen. (select) Roger W. Teague, the U.S. Air Force’s Infrared Space Systems Directorate director. “We look forward to getting this next-generation system on orbit and delivering its enhanced capabilities to the warfigher.”

The GEO-1 satellite includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will deliver enhanced infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the current constellation of surveillance satellites.

Lockheed said the scanning sensor provides wide-area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena, while the staring sensor will be tasked to observe smaller areas of interest with enhanced sensitivity.

The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.

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Posted by pilotpaul on May 5 2011. Filed under All News, Space. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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