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US Air Force Defense Will Be Stronger As It Launches SBIRS GEO Flight 3

First Posted: Jan 14, 2017 04:27 AM EST
Lockheed Martin
The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 is scheduled to launch on Jan. 19.
(Photo : Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The next Space Based Infrared System or the SBIRS Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite from the U.S. Air Force built by Lockheed Martin is currently encapsulated in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is set to launch on Jan. 19 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

If successful, the Florida Trend reported that the SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite will be the latest member to join the orbiting network of satellites equipped with a powerful staring and scanning sensors that are able to collect and transmit surveillance information to the ground stations.

The sent information will be used by the U.S. military to detect missile launches and support ballistic missile defense. Also, it can expand the technical intelligence by gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.

Meanwhile, the SBIRS' main mission is the strategic missile warning. The infrared will also be ready for the newly qualified military and civilian uses. It will be available on the Air Force's currently opened tools, Application and Processing Lab in Boulder, Colorado.

The vice president of Lockheed Martin's Overhead Persistent Infrared system mission area, David Sheridan, said that, "The satellite's successful delivery and encapsulation closes out a manufacturing process that Lockheed Martin has continued to streamline with each build, driving significant schedule and cost reductions into the SBIRS program."

He added that the launch, the addition of GEO Flight 3 into the constellation will greatly enhance SBIRS' ability to provide resilient, space-based infrared surveillance capabilities for decades to come, according to PR Newswire.

The journey to launch by the satellite began at the Lockheed Martin's Sunnyvale, California, facility where it was built, unified and carefully tested. For its trip to Florida, the satellite was loaded on the C-5 Galaxy aircraft at the nearby Moffett Federal Air Field, according to Aviation Week.

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