Washington – The fifth geosynchronous satellite in the Space-Based Infrared System group arrived in Florida planned to launch this May
The premium missile warning satellite system SBIRS is likely to provide 24/7 coverage of detecting missile launches around the globe. The U.S. Space Force sees the missile detection system as lifesaving. In the recent past, it provided before-time warnings to get cover when Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles on the U.S. and allied forces in Iraq in January 2020.
The SBIRS comprises four satellites with two hosted payloads in highly elliptical orbits. The GEO satellite has a sensor that continuously scans the Earth and a step-starter to provide more precise coverage.
The funding of about $1.86 billion for the fifth and the sixth GEO satellites was awarded in 2014. In 2018, Congress decided that GEO-5 and GEO-6 would be the final set of satellites in this special constellation, and chose to fund the new program called Next Generation President Infrared instead.
Geo-5 was completed in October and has reached Florida and is launching in May 2021. According to Lt. Col. Ryan Laughton, the production material leader of the program, the delivery itself was a huge achievement and the satellite’s mission as a warfighter in the orbit out there is going to be more critical.
It was a combined team success, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, the Aerospace Corporation, multiple support contractors, and governmental personnel.
This 5th geosynchronous satellite is all set to launch on May 17 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.