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United Launch Alliance launches missile warning satellite for Space Force

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United Launch Alliance launches missile warning satellite for Space Force
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches the sixth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Satellite early Thursday for the U.S. Space Force from Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 4 (UPI) -- United Launch Alliance launched a missile warning satellite for the U.S. Space Force at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday morning.

ULA sent the Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight 6 into orbit on its Atlas V rocket just after 6:30 a.m. EDT.

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SBIRS GEO-6 was previously scheduled to launch on June 18 and July 31 but those attempts were delayed for unspecified reasons.

The SBIRS GEO-6 is an enhanced space vehicle built by Lockheed Martin that uses its modernized LM 2100 Combat Bus to provide "even greater resiliency and cyber-hardening against growing threats," ULA said.

"Equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors to protect our nation 24/7, the SBIRS spacecraft continue to serve as the tip of the spear for global missile warning as ballistic missile threats proliferate around the world," ULA said.

Maj. Matt Blystone, program manager at the Space Force's Space Systems Command, said the launch "represents the conclusion of the production and launch phase and the commencement of the satellites' critical missile detection and early warning mission."

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"These infrared sensors and others in a constellation of persistent overhead satellites collect data that allow the U.S. military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield," ULA said.

Thursday's launch marked ULA's fifth of 2022 with three more national security launches set to take place on the Atlas V before ULA switches to its new Vulcan Centaur.

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A full moon sets behind NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket as it stands on Complex 39B in preparation for testing at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on June 15, 2022. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

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