The second Lockheed Martin built Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO-2) spacecraft was encapsulated into its payload fairing March 4 in preparation for a March 19 liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
SBIRS GEO-2, the most technologically advanced infrared surveillance satellite, will enhance the nationís missile warning capabilities and simultaneously improve the missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness mission areas.
The satellite includes highly sophisticated scanning and starring sensors with improved infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the legacy constellation. The scanning sensor will provide a wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the earth, while the staring sensor will be used to observe smaller areas of interest with superior sensitivity.
Featuring a mix of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, hosted payloads in highly elliptical earth orbit, and ground hardware and software, the SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers.
Lockheed Martinís SBIRS contracts include four HEO payloads, four GEO satellites, and ground assets to receive, process, and disseminate the infrared mission data. The team has also begun procuring long lead parts for the fifth and sixth GEO satellites. HEO payloads and the first GEO satellite have already launched into orbit.
The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor, Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.