SBIRS Satellite in Launch Fairing

Technicians have encapsulated GEO-1, the first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite, in its launch fairing in preparation for its scheduled launch into space next week, announced prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The launch is planned for May 6 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will carry the sophisticated early warning satellite into orbit. GEO-1 will carry both a staring and a scanning infrared sensor that will enhance the nation’s missile warning capabilities and also support missions like battlespace situational awareness. The satellite will join two SBIRS staring payloads, dubbed HEO-1 and HEO-2, already operating on classified intelligence satellites in highly elliptical orbits. More GEO satellites are in development. SBIRS sensors will initially complement and eventually replace the Defense Support Program constellation that’s looked out for missile launches for decades. (Lockheed release)