Missile warning satellite passes test

Dec. 14, 2010 at 9:18 AM
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SUNNYVALE, Calif., Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin completed the Final Integrated Systems Test for a geosynchronous missile warning satellite.

The Space Based Infrared System, following passage of the FIST and earlier testing, is "now on track" for launch into orbit next spring, Lockheed said.

"The joint government/industry team has made tremendous progress and demonstrated exceptional commitment in preparing the first SBIRS GEO spacecraft for launch," said Col. Roger Teague, the Air Force's SBIRS wing commander. "Successful completion of FIST gives us high confidence in achieving SBIRS mission success to provide unprecedented, global, persistent, infrared surveillance capabilities to our nation."

The launch of GEO-1 will significantly enhance the nation's early missile warning capabilities and simultaneously support other critical national security missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.

The SBIRS team said the satellite's highly elliptical orbit payloads have been launched and are meeting or exceeding all performance requirements.

Prior to launch, the SBIRS team will complete space-to-ground interface system testing, perform spacecraft component installations and conduct a final factory confidence test.

The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor. Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.

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