Eyes in Space

The Air Force is preparing for the launch of its space based space surveillance satellite on July 8, Col. J.R. Jordan, vice commander of the space superiority systems wing at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., told reporters Wednesday during a teleconference. He said SBSS’s placement in low Earth orbit on that date is contingent on the successful launch next week of a Minotaur IV booster, the same launch vehicle chosen for SBSS. This surveillance satellite, with its agile optical sensor, will significantly increase US capabilities to detect and monitor objects in space. “There are a lot of unknown objects up there,” said Jordan. It will work together with US terrestrial based optical sensors and radar. A Boeing-Bell Aerospace team built SBSS. It will be the sole US space-based asset for monitoring space objects, filling the gap left by the retirement of the MSX satellite in 2008.