Propulsion module completed for Lockheed Martin’s missile defense early warning satellite
Lockheed Martin completed the propulsion module for the fourth Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO-4) space vehicle and is now proceeding with satellite assembly, integration and test.
SBIRS provides our nation with continuous early warning of ballistic missile launches and other tactical intelligence.
Final assembly and test of the GEO-4 satellite’s propulsion module occurred earlier this year at Lockheed Martin’s Mississippi Space & Technology Center at the John C. Stennis Space Center. The propulsion module maneuvers the satellite during transfer orbit to its final location and conducts on-orbit re-positioning maneuvers throughout its mission life.
The completed propulsion module shipped to the company’s Sunnyvale, CA, facility, where the satellite power and avionics boxes will be added prior to installing the mission payload that will be delivered by Northrop Grumman later this year.
“This is a significant production milestone for the fourth GEO satellite and further demonstrates our commitment to delivering SBIRS’ unprecedented capabilities to our nation,” said Jeffrey Smith, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) mission area. “We are now seeing the efficiency benefits from full production on the SBIRS program and look forward to delivering GEO-4 to the U.S. Air Force in 2015.”
The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers. The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, expands the country’s technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
The SBIRS architecture includes a resilient mix of satellites in GEO, hosted payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) orbit, and ground hardware and software. The GEO-1 satellite received Air Force Space Command Operational Acceptance on May 21, 2013.
GEO-2 was declared operational Nov. 25, 2013, just eight months after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, with performance that matches, and in some cases exceeds requirements.
The SBIRS GEO-3 satellite is preparing for acoustic and thermal vacuum testing, and is on schedule for delivery to the Air Force by the end of 2014. Lockheed Martin is also currently under contract for GEO-5 and GEO-6 long-lead parts procurement.
The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor, Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.