Having conducted all system environmental testing and now with the completion of FIST, SBIRS GEO-1 is on track to meet its scheduled spring 2011 launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The SBIRS Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) payloads have already been launched and are meeting or exceeding all performance requirements. 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 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 U.S. 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.”
On the path to spacecraft delivery, the SBIRS team will complete final space to ground interface system testing, perform final spacecraft component installations, and conduct a final factory confidence test. Qualification of the satellite's flight software, designed to provide highly reliable command and control operations, is also progressing steadily. The team recently completed all 138 Engineering Dry Runs (EDR), a key milestone in the flight software qualification regimen, and is on track to complete the spacecraft’s comprehensive flight software qualification testing program early next year.
“With a focus on sound program execution, the entire government/industry team completed a disciplined and thorough test that represents a major program milestone on the path to mission success,” said Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS Vice President. “We look forward to and are keenly focused on preparing this first-of-its-kind spacecraft for launch to deliver critical new capabilities to our nation’s warfighters for decades to come.”
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, with Northrop Grumman, as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.
Lockheed Martin's original SBIRS contract includes HEO payloads, two geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The team is also under a follow-on production contract to deliver additional HEO payloads, third and fourth GEO satellites, and associated ground modifications.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 133,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2009 sales from continuing operations were $44 billion.