USAF missile-warning center "talking" with new SBIRS satellite
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. The U.S. Air Force's 460th Space Wing has made contact with and is now "talking" to the fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite following the satellite's successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on the evening of January 19, 2018.
The SBIRS GEO Flight-4 satellite -- built by Lockheed Martin -- is responding to the Wing's commands as planned, following confirmation of signal acquisition approximately 37 minutes after the satellite was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
The SBIRS GEO Flight-4 is the latest satellite to join the Air Force's orbiting missile-warning constellation, which is fitted with powerful scan-and-stare infrared surveillance sensors. The U.S. military uses the collected data to detect missile launches, support ballistic-missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering, and enhance situational awareness on the battlefield. The Flight-4 satellite also completes the initial constellation, say Lockheed Martin officials, and enable SBIRS to provide global coverage.
On the ground at Buckley Air Force Base, an updated new SBIRS ground control system – also designed by Lockheed Martin – acts as the nerve center for the entire SBIRS constellation, taking in large amounts of data from the satellites' sensors, which is then converted into actionable reports for defense, intelligence, and civil applications.