GEO-2, the second Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite, successfully completed its final integrated system test and is on schedule for launch into orbit from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., as early as July, announced prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The FIST verified the satellite’s performance and functionality, said company officials. Lt. Col. Jonathon Whitney, the Air Force’s GEO-2 space vehicle integration and launch branch chief, said the lessons learned from GEO-1, the first SBIRS satellite, “have allowed the joint government and industry team to perform the assembly, integration, and test of GEO-2 in a more efficient manner.” He added, “We are looking forward to delivering the satellite for launch.” SBIRS satellites are designed to provide missile warning and ancillary intelligence collection. GEO-1, placed into orbit last May, already is exceeding expectations, announced Air Force Space Command officials last month. The exact launch date for GEO-2 will depend on launch range and booster availability, according to Lockheed Martin.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.