It takes a significant size team to accomplish the task of building and delivering a project that will ultimately perform the task of providing our country with missile warning and infrared surveillance information. This final project, the U.S. Air Force's Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program completed a major program milestone October 31, successfully delivering a Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite Flight-4 to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Lt. Gen. John Thompson, SMC commander and Air Force program executive officer for space. said that the delivery, launch, and successful operation of GEO Flight-4 will mark the fulfillment of the original SBIRS baseline constellation and reaffirm their commitment to provide their country, warfighters, and senior leaders with timely, reliable, and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information.
The delivery of GEO Flight-4 sets the path for final checkout of the space vehicle before launch. The satellite will be processed at the Payload Processing Facility located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
A combined government and contractor team is already executing the final ground activities including a Launch Base Confidence Test to verify
satellite integrity after shipment, an intersegment test to verify communication compatibility from the satellite to the on-orbit operations center and the final battery reconditioning for launch. Following these activities, the satellite will be fueled and prepared for integration with the Atlas V rocket.
Col. Dennis Bythewood, director of the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate added that finalizing the preparations for the fourth launch of a SBIRS GEO satellite is a big deal. The entire team understands how significant this is, and they're ready to make it happen. The GEO Flight-4 satellite is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral in January 2018.
The satellite was transported from the Lockheed Martin satellite integration facility in Sunnyvale, California, via a C-5 Galaxy aircraft. The C-5 crew from the 22nd Airlift Squadron, Travis AFB, California, ensured the satellite was transported safely and according to the time sensitive
schedule. The security support provided by the 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard, was essential to the success of the mission. "The safety of the SBIRS satellite was entrusted to the very best, and we are appreciative of the transport and security services provided by the entire government and contractor team," Lt. Gen. Thompson said.
The SBIRS constellation is designed to replace the legacy Defense Support Program satellite constellation. SBIRS will continue to provide
significantly enhanced capabilities to support missile warning, missile defenses, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence missions.