Third SBIRS satellite payload deployed to Air Force by Lockheed Martin
SUNNYVALE, CA. The third of four highly elliptical earth orbit (HEO) satellite payloads was delivered by Lockheed Martin to the U.S. Air Force for the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS).
The SBIRS program provides missile warning and infrared surveillance data to US military and intelligence officials. Its architecture has a mix of satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), hosted payloads in HEO orbit, as well as ground software and hardware.
Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS work includes four HEO payloads and four GEO satellites, as well as ground assets to receive, process, and disseminate the infrared mission data. The first two HEO payloads were deployed in 2004 and 2005. Before the most recent delivery, the HEO 3 payload finished environmental and functional testing for a performance demonstration in family with HEOs 1 and 2.
This Spring, Air Force Space Command officials declared GEO 1 operational and recommended Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) certification of the asset to USSTRATCOM. In March, the Air Force’s second SBIRS GEO satellite (GEO 2) was launched and has been providing infrared data as part of on-orbit testing. Earlier that month Lockheed Martin officials won contracts to procure long-lead items for GEOs 5 and 6. The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The SBIRS prime contractor is Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.