SBIRS GEO Flight 3 comms established
Following its 20 January launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the third US Air Force Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO satellite is responding to commands as planned.
The Lockheed Martin-built SBIRS GEO Flight 3 will now begin transitioning to its final location in geosynchronous orbit, approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth, where it will begin early on-orbit testing.
The satellite is equipped with powerful scanning and staring sensors that collect and transmit infrared surveillance information to ground stations. This information is used by the US military to support ballistic missile defence, expand technical intelligence gathering, and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.
SBIRS GEO-1 and GEO-2 were launched in 2011 and 2013 respectively. The next satellite, GEO Flight 4, will undergo final assembly, integration and test prior to its planned 2017 launch. SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6 are currently in production, and incorporate a new common spacecraft bus to reduce costs and cycle times, and increase the potential to incorporate future, modernised sensor suites.
David Sheridan, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s overhead persistent infrared systems mission area, said: ‘After a successful United Launch Alliance launch, signal acquisition is the first critical event in SBIRS’ mission to support the air force with early missile warning and defence.
‘With communications now established, our job begins to deliver SBIRS to its final orbit so we can complete deployments and operational testing in anticipation of the satellite’s formal acceptance by the air force.’
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