Gamma Sniffers

The Air Force has the requirement that the third in its series of Space Based Infrared System satellites carries a nuclear detection detonation sensor as current GPS spacecraft do. According to USAF’s Fiscal 2009 budget documents, this satellite, designated GEO-3, will host the space and atmospheric burst reporting system, or SABRS, a new payload of neutron/gamma detectors that the Air Force is developing for placement on satellites that reside in geosynchronous Earth orbit, such as SBIRS. The first two SBIRS satellites did not have this requirement, USAF told the Daily Report. The Air Force is proposing to spend $1.7 billion in Fiscal 2009 to buy the third SBIRS spacecraft, along with the third SBIRS sensor payload that will reside on a classified intelligence satellite that circles the Earth in a highly elliptical orbit. That funding will also cover advanced procurement of the fourth HEO payload, the Air Force said.