SBIRS satellite in thermal vacuum tests

Dec. 16, 2011 at 5:57 AM

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Thermal vacuum testing of the U.S. Air Force's second Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite has been completed by Lockheed Martin.

The company said the SBIRS GEO-2 was put through extreme hot and cold temperatures to verify its functionality and performance. The thermal vacuum testing was the last of environmental test phases validating satellite design and survivability in orbit.

"The GEO-2 team has done a tremendous job in utilizing lessons learned from GEO-1 in order to streamline the GEO-2 test schedule and deliver this essential asset to the user as quickly as possible," said Air Force Col. Troy Brashear, the SBIRS Engineering and Manufacturing Development Program manager.

"The SBIRS government and industry team understands the importance of the SBIRS mission and is committed to delivering this spacecraft efficiently to provide life-saving capabilities to the warfighters."

SBIRS satellites improve the U.S. military's missile warning capabilities and provide superior technical intelligence and battlespace awareness through advanced scanning and staring sensors that deliver improved infrared sensitivity.

Lockheed Martin said that, with the completion of thermal vacuum testing, it will conduct final factory work on the satellite and conduct integrated spacecraft and system testing.

"With the completion of environmental testing on GEO-2, the government and industry team is well positioned to deliver this vital spacecraft for launch," said Dave Sheridan, Lockheed Martin's SBIRS deputy program director.

"As we continue building dedicated SBIRS satellites and hosted payloads, we are committed to driving even greater efficiency and affordability into the program while delivering maximum value to the government."

SBIRS GEO-1 was launched May 7.

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