Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

US Air Force to launch new missile-warning satellite Thursday night

Air Force, ULA prepare to launch missile defense satellite SBIRS GEO 4 Lockheed-built missile-warning satellite set for launch
Doris Mccormick | 20 January, 2018, 04:28

The mission will loft the Air Force's fourth Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, satellite bound for geosynchronous orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator. SBIRSFlight 4 is the fourth in a series of Air Force missile-detection satellites created to use advanced scanners and infrared detectors to track launches of ballistic missiles. Liftoff occurred at 7:48 p.m. EDT (0048 GMT on January 20) after a one-day delay so engineers could address a ground-based issue associated with the rocket's liquid-oxygen system.

The mission is set to lift off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Air Force, ULA prepare to launch missile defense satellite SBIRS GEO 4

According to Tom McCormick, vice president for Lockheed Martin's overhead persistent infrared systems mission area, the satellite completes the original baseline constellation, allowing SBIRS to finally offer worldwide coverage. The new "SBIRS Block 10" system includes enhancements like faster data collection times, improved threat detections, and improved target tracking and infrared information to enable troops to see dimmer targets faster.

The first two satellites, SBIRS GEO Flights 1 and 2, have been operational since 2013. There were no details available about which orbit the SBIRS payload would hopefully be delivered to on Thursday evening.

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