CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 9 (UPI) -- The first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous spacecraft built for the U.S. Air Force was launched into orbit Saturday.
The SBIRS GEO-1, built by Lockheed Martin, was carried aloft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
SBIRS GEO-1 is the most technologically advanced military infrared satellite ever developed and will deliver vastly improved missile warning capabilities for the United States while simultaneously improving the nation's missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness mission areas.
"Today's successful launch is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and unmatched expertise of the entire government and industry SBIRS team," said Brig. Gen. (select) Roger W. Teague, the U.S. Air Force's Infrared Space Systems Directorate director "SBIRS GEO-1 represents the dawn of a new era in overhead persistent infrared surveillance that will greatly improve our national security for years to come."
SBIRS GEO-1 includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will deliver improved infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the current 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.