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USAF makes contract with new SBIRS satellite

24th January 2018 - 16:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The US Air Force’s 460th Space Wing has made contact with the fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite, Lockheed Martin announced on 19 January.

According to the company, the SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite - launched on 19 January - is responding to the wing's commands as planned.

Equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors, the Lockheed Martin-built SBIRS GEO Flight-4 is the latest satellite to join the air force's orbiting missile warning constellation. The sensors collect data for use by the US military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defence, expand technical intelligence gathering and strengthen situational awareness on the battlefield. The satellite also completes the initial constellation and enables SBIRS to provide global coverage.

At Buckley Air Force Base, the new SBIRS Block 10 ground control system receives large amounts of data from the satellites' sensors. The control system and its operators convert this data into actionable reports for intelligence, defence and civil applications.

The SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite will now transition to its final location in geosynchronous orbit, approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth. There, the satellite’s solar arrays, light shade and antennas will be deployed to begin on-orbit testing. It will join SBIRS GEO Flights 1, 2 and 3, which were launched in 2011, 2013 and 2017, respectively.

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