October 6, 2017

Critical Design Review for Next Generation GEO satellites a success

The Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate and prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, successfully completed a system Critical Design Review for the Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting satellites GEO-5 and GEO-6 Sept. 8.

The successful CDR marks the capstone event, culminating 18 months of lower level reviews, which authorizes the next two satellites in the Space Based Infrared Systems constellation to enter into manufacturing and integration phase. GEO-5 and GEO-6 are tentatively scheduled for delivery in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

“The biggest improvement to GEOs 5 and 6 is resiliency, a key component of the Space Warfighting Construct initiative that will ensure our ability to maintain space superiority into the 21st century,” said Col. Dennis Bythewood, director of SMC’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate.  “These improvements will ensure that the SBIRS constellation continues to provide the military readiness and deterrence capabilities that our nation and its leaders rely upon.”

GEO-5 and GEO-6 have similar designs to the first four GEO satellites to allow for cost savings. However, through a technical refresh update to the A2100 bus, they will eliminate older components and utilize modern electronics to add new capability and increase reliability.

The SBIRS program is the follow-on to the Air Force’s 47-year-old Defense Satellite Program and delivers timely, reliable, and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the president, warfighters, intelligence community, and other key decision makers. It celebrated the launch of its first GEO satellite May 7, 2011 and is scheduled to launch its fourth GEO satellite in January 2018.

The CDR was led by SMC’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the Lockheed Martin production facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., and attended by observers from Air Force Space Command, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and the Lockheed Martin Corporation. During the review, the Remote Sensing Program Office formally declared Lockheed Martin had demonstrated the design maturity required to authorize the continuation of all manufacturing and integration efforts for both satellites.

SMC’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate manages the SBIRS program. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., is the payload integrator. 

The 460th Space Wing at Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colo., operates the SBIRS constellation. The SBIRS system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, expands the country’s technical intelligence gathering capability and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
SMC, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force Space Command’s center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch enterprise, satellite control networks, remote sensing systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.

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