Alternative Look

The Air Force intends to award Raytheon a contract to determine the feasibility of taking existing hardware that the company has held in storage and building an infrared sensor payload that could be used in space to warn of missile launches. In a Federal Business Opportunities notice posted Tuesday, the Space Based Infrared Systems program office said it would like the company to carry out this assessment over a period of 90 days. The office wants insights on the quality of IR package that could be assembled and the costs and effort required to create this payload. The Air Force already has two advanced IR sensor payloads operating in space on classified intelligence satellites to warn of missile launches, alongside existing Defense Support Program early warning spacecraft. And it plans to place the first SBIRS satellite, GEO-1, in space in 2011.