The first U.S. Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous spacecraft for the military is in orbit on May 7, 2011, and is performing as required as reported by UPI on May 25.

Lockheed Martin, which built the spacecraft said the U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin SBIRS ground team executed a series of six engine burns to position the spacecraft to its geosynchronous orbital slot.

The team deployed the satellite’s solar arrays, light shade and antenna wing assemblies in preparation for activating its infrared sensors and the start of early orbit testing.

SBIRS GEO-1 is the most technologically advanced military infrared satellite ever developed and will enhance early warning of missile launches around the globe, support the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, greatly expand technical intelligence gathering capability, and bolster situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.

The spacecraft includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will deliver improved infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the current constellation of surveillance satellites.


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