LM-Built SBIRS Satellite Successfully Transmits First Light Images
SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA. From its final orbit location 22,000 miles above the equator, the third Lockheed Martin-built Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite recently sent its first images back down to Earth, a milestone known as "first light." The satellite was launched on January 20 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and is the third in a series of Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites that the US Air Force uses to provide faster and more accurate missile warning data to the nation and its allies. The satellite reached orbit, where it successfully completed deployments of its sun-tracking solar arrays, antenna wing assemblies and light shade.
"With the satellite successfully on orbit, we are now working to ensure GEO Flight 3 continues the outstanding performance trends demonstrated by its predecessors, including better-than-specified sensor pointing accuracy and the ability to detect dimmer targets than expected," said David Sheridan, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Overhead Persistent Infrared systems mission area. The constellation is operated by the next-generation SBIRS ground station at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. GEO Flight 4, the next satellite in the series, will undergo final assembly, integration and test at Lockheed Martin's satellite production facility in Sunnyvale, California, prior to its launch planned for later this year.