SBIRS Testing Advances:

Prime contractor Lockheed Martin expects to conclude baseline integrated system testing for the first Space-Based Infrared System early warning satellite in May and then move into environmental testing in preparation for launch in late 2009, the company announced March 19 in a progress report. The SBIRS satellite, known as GEO-1, completed the first phase of BIST in January and is now undergoing more testing in its flight configuration to establish a performance baseline prior to the environmental testing. Engineers will add the satellite’s solar arrays, deployable light shade, and thermal blankets for the environmental testing, which will subject GEO-1 to the maximum sound and vibration levels expected during its launch into orbit. In related news, Lockheed Martin said the Air Force recently selected the SBIRS team as its nominee for the National Aeronautic Association’s 2007 Robert J. Collier Trophy for the successful development, deployment, test, and on-orbit operations of the first SBIRS highly elliptical orbit payload.