SBIRS Satellite Fueled, Nears Launch

The Air Force and its industry partners have completed fueling GEO-1, the first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite, in preparation for its scheduled launch into orbit in early May from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. “Right now we are on track for a May 6 launch,” Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS program director, told reporters during a telecon Tuesday. Technicians loaded about 5,000 pounds of fuel onto the spacecraft over the course of several days through Monday, said Smith. Next up is to encapsulate the missile early warning satellite in its launch faring on April 22 and then mate the fairing to the launch vehicle three days later. The mated pair will then roll out to the launch pad one day prior to lift-off, said Smith. “We are very excited that the program is to this point that now we are on a cusp of launching our very first geosynchronous satellite, which is going to provide incredible capability for our nation and our warfighters for many years to come,” said Col. Roger Teague, director of infrared space systems at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., during the telecon. (See also Los Angeles release)