SBIRS GEO Making Good Progress

Prime contractor Lockheed Martin said in an Oct. 22 release that it has delivered the latest flight software for the Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite No. 1, enabling the SBIRS program to begin baseline integrated system testing on the new spacecraft. The Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., announced, too, that the SBIRS GEO-1 had “successfully completed” acoustic testing at the development site in Sunnyvale, Calif. “This milestone is a major accomplishment for the SBIRS program and a major risk-reduction activity” for GEO-1, said Lt. Col. Heath Collins, SBIRS Space Squadron commander at SMC, in an Oct. 23 release. During acoustic and pyroshock testing, the spacecraft was to undergo the “maximum sound and vibration levels expected during launch into orbit, noted Lockheed Martin. The company also said that thermal vacuum testing is on track for mid-2009. The Air Force expects to launch SBIRS GEO-1 in Fiscal 2010, when it will join already on-orbit SBIRS highly elliptical orbit spacecraft-1 and HEO-2. The second HEO spacecraft passed its on-orbit checkout this summer, and program officials expected HEO-1 to begin missile warning operations later this year.