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News | Aug. 5, 2016

SBIRS GEO Flight 3 Arrives in Florida, Prepares for October Launch

The U.S. Air Force’s Space Based Infrared Systems program completed a major program milestone on Aug. 2, successfully delivering a Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite Flight 3 to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

“GEO Flight 3 delivery and launch marks a significant milestone in fulfilling our commitment to the missile-warning community, missile defense and the intelligence community. It’s an important asset for the warfighter and will be employed for years to come,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, SMC commander and Air Force program executive officer for space.

The delivery of GEO Flight 3 sets the path for final checkout of the space vehicle before launch. The satellite will be processed in the National Reconnaissance Office’s Eastern Processing Facility.

A combined government and contractor team is already executing the final ground activities including a Launch Base Confidence Test to verify satellite integrity after shipment, an intersegment test to verify communication compatibility from the satellite to the on-orbit operations center and the final battery reconditioning for launch. Following these activities, the satellite will be fueled and prepared for integration with the Atlas V rocket.

“The SBIRS team has met program objectives leading to this important milestone,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Guetlein, director, Remote Sensing Systems Directorate.  “There is great enthusiasm and excitement across our entire workforce.” The GEO Flight 3 satellite is tentatively scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral in October 2016. 

The satellite was transported from the Lockheed Martin satellite integration facility in Sunnyvale, California, via a C-5 Galaxy aircraft.  The C-5 crew from the 22nd Airlift Squadron, Travis AFB, California, ensured the satellite was transported safely and according to the time sensitive schedule. The security support provided by the 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard, was essential to the success of the mission.

“Safe transport of the SBIRS satellite was paramount and the total government and contractor team worked tirelessly to ensure mission success,” Greaves said.

The SBIRS constellation is designed to replace the legacy Defense Support Program satellite constellation. SBIRS will continue to provide significantly enhanced capabilities to support missile warning, missile defenses, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence missions.

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