Tuesday, August 05, 2008

USAF Takes Control of First SBIRS Satellite

Martin Seiff writes for UPI:

The U.S. Air Force has taken over control of the first Space Based Infrared System -- SBIRS -- orbiting missile launch detection system.

Lockheed Martin, whose Space Systems Co. is the prime contractor on the SBIRS project, announced in a statement Tuesday it had completed the transfer of payload and ground system operations of the first SBIRS Highly Elliptical Orbit -- HEO-1 -- satellite to the U.S. Air Force in preparation. What Lockheed Martin described as "certified operations" is scheduled to begin before the end of 2008.

The SBIRS system is the next generation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- ISR -- for ballistic missile defense in space. It is planned to give the earliest possible alert of any potentially hostile ballistic missile launches around the world and to fulfill other space-based technical intelligence and battle-space surveillance functions.

The HEO-1 was fired into orbit in November 2006, and Lockheed Martin said it has since "been exceeding performance specifications during an extensive on-orbit test regimen" before being turned over to the U.S. Air Force for active service.

More here.


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