SBIRS Looks Good On-Orbit

According to the Air Force and prime contractor Lockheed Martin, the second highly elliptical orbit payload in the Space Based Infrared System constellation has passed its on-orbit checkout successfully. The HEO-2, states a June 20 company release, “meets or exceeds specifications.” Executive VP of Lockheed’s Space Systems Company, Joanne Maguire, said, “The second HEO sensor is performing as advertised and we are delighted for our Air Force customer.” As overseer of payload integration, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems President Jim Pitts declared that HEO-2 is “providing the same revolutionary capability as the first sensor,” meaning SBIRS is offering “persistent surveillance of the northern hemisphere.” Officials at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., said HEO-2 is delivering about 10 times better sensitivity and up to five times faster revisit capability as the legacy Defense Support Program satellites. HEO-2 must undergo further engineering testing over the next several months, but they expect that missile warning alerts from HEO-1 will join the DSP messaging provided to warfighters by September. (LAAFB release)