Third SBIRS Satellite Shipped To Florida For October Launch

The Air Force and Lockheed Martin [LMT] shipped the third Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) missile-warning satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., last week for its fall launch.

The SBIRS Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight 3 (GEO-3) satellite flew from Sunnyvale, Calif., where it was built, to Florida aboard an Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport plane. It is scheduled to lift off aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket in October.

Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS GEO-1 payload is loaded onto an Air Force C-5 in 2011. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS GEO-1 payload is loaded onto an Air Force C-5 in 2011. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

The SBIRS constellation, designed to replace aging Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites, will consist of GEO satellites and sensors on host satellites in highly elliptical orbit (HEO). HEO-1 and HEO-2 achieved orbit in 2006 and 2008.

GEO-1 and GEO-2 were launched in 2011 and 2013, respectively. GEO-4 is in storage and will undergo final assembly before being launched in 2017. GEO-5 and GEO-6, which will replace the first two satellites, are in production and are to be available for launch in 2020 and 2021. GEO-5 and GEO-6 will have a newer bus design.





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