Sunnyvale, Calif.: US defence and aerospace major, Lockheed Martin, has announced the successful mating of the spacecraft bus and the payload for the first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geo-synchronous orbit (GEO-1) satellite.
SBIRS mission areas include missile warning, theater missile warning and defense, technical intelligence and battle space awareness.
The GEO payloads feature a scanning sensor that provides short revisit times over its full field of view and a staring sensor that can switch between step-stare or dedicated stare operations over smaller areas.
"The integration of this technically complex hardware is a major milestone for the team that moves this critical national security program another step closer to delivering unprecedented new capabilities for the warfighter," said Mark Crowley, Lockheed Martin's SBIRS vice president. "We are on track to sustain our momentum in the remaining integration and test work ahead and look forward to the ultimate deployment of this first-of-its-kind satellite."
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide two HEO payloads and two GEO satellites, as well as the ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data to its customer, the SBIRS Wing, located at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.
The successful mate of the payload and spacecraft allows the team of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., the payload subcontractor, to begin system level environmental and acceptance testing in preparation for launch in 2009.
The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) is USA's next-generation missile warning system and is designed to protect the country and its defence forces and allies against global and theatre ballistic missile attacks.
The SBIRS programme is the follow-on capability to the highly successful Defense Support Program (DSP), which has provided early warning for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launches for more than 30 years. The SBIRS programme is meant to provide a seamless transition from DSP to SBIRS.
The SBIRS program consists of two Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, two Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) and related ground systems deployed around the world.
The GEO-1 satellite carries both a scanning and a staring sensor, as well as a pointing and control assembly (PCA). The scanning sensor provides continuous observation and surveillance of traditional intercontinental ballistic missile threats. The staring sensor will detect very low signature, short-burn-duration theatre missiles.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to deliver two GEO satellites, two payloads in highly elliptical orbit (HEO) as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The two HEO payloads have been delivered to the US Air Force and are on-orbit.
In July 2007, the Air Force released a Request for Proposal to the Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman team for a GEO-3 satellite, two additional HEO payloads and an option for a GEO-4 satellite.