The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center successfully delivered the fifth Space Based Infrared System satellite to the processing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., Mar. 18, 2021.
The satellite traveled across the country from the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Center satellite integration facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., via a C-5M Super Galaxy on March 18. The SBIRS team based out of Los Angeles AFB and the flight crew from the 60th Air Mobility Wing based at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., worked together to ensure the safe and timely transportation of the satellite.
The delivery of the satellite to Cape Canaveral brings GEO-5 one crucial step closer to its anticipated May 17 launch. The next step is the execution of the final ground testing activities to verify satellite integrity, beginning with a Launch Base Confidence Test. After successful completion of testing, consent to fuel will be given and satellite fueling operations will begin. These activities are vital to the mission team’s efforts to use GEO-5’s propulsion system to guide the satellite to geosynchronous orbit following its separation from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Encapsulation and integration of the satellite onto the launch vehicle will be completed prior to launch.
“This delivery represents a major milestone for the SBIRS program and is a critical step towards putting GEO-5 on orbit for the warfighter. It represents the hard work and dedication of the combined team of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, the Aerospace Corporation, multiple support contractors and government personnel,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Laughton, SBIRS GEO-5/6 production materiel leader.
The SBIRS constellation is designed to replace the legacy Defense Support Program, which has provided missile-detection and missile warning capabilities to the nation for more than 45 years. SBIRS provides persistent infrared surveillance to support missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence missions.
The U.S Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the 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 and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.