Microwave Journal

GEO-1 Spacecraft Ready for Environmental Test Phase

June 16, 2008

Lockheed Martin announced that it has achieved a major integrated test milestone on the first Space-based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO-1) spacecraft that enables the start of environmental testing in preparation for launch in 2009. The GEO-1 satellite, designed to provide new missile detection and surveillance capabilities for the nation, has completed a comprehensive baseline integrated system test (BIST) phase which began in early March to characterize the overall performance of the GEO-1 satellite and establish a performance baseline for entering environmental testing.

“I am proud of our entire team for completing this significant milestone ahead of schedule,” said Col. Roger Teague, the US Air Force’s SBIRS wing commander. “We continue to build confidence as we march towards the inaugural launch of this vitally important spacecraft.” With the completion of BIST, the team will integrate the satellite’s solar arrays, deployable light shade and thermal blankets and then prepare for acoustic and pyroshock testing where the integrated space vehicle will be subjected to the maximum sound and vibration levels expected during launch into orbit.

“This comprehensive test confirms our readiness to enter the critical environmental test stage,” said Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS vice president and general manager. “Our team continues to make significant progress on this sophisticated satellite and we look forward to achieving mission success for our customer.” SBRIS is designed to provide early warning of missile launches and simultaneously support other missions, including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlefield characterization.

TThe SBRIS team is led by the Space-based Infrared System Wing at the US Air Force Space and Missile System Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, CA, is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, CA, as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system. Lockheed Martin’s current contract includes two highly elliptical orbit (HEO) payloads and two GEO satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The Lockheed Martin team has delivered both HEO payloads and the first GEO satellite launch is scheduled for late 2009. The first HEO payload has completed initial on-orbit deployment and checkout and demonstrated that its performance meets or exceeds specifications. The program is in the early stages of adding additional GEO spacecrafts and HEO payloads to the planned constellation.