CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Air Force's second Space Based Infrared System ( SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO-2) spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), was successfully launched today at 5:21 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers. The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation's ballistic missile defense system, expands the country's technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
"We are proud to partner with the U.S. Air Force on the SBIRS program to deliver highly reliable infrared surveillance capabilities for strategic and tactical users across the defense and intelligence community," said Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Lockheed Martin's Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) mission area. "Thanks to the unmatched expertise of the entire government and industry SBIRS team, we are confident this satellite will meet or exceed expectations and play a pivotal role in our national security for years to come."
The SBIRS architecture includes a resilient mix of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, hosted payloads in highly elliptical earth (HEO) orbit, and ground hardware and software. The first two GEO satellites and HEO payloads have now launched.SBIRS GEO-2 includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will deliver improved infrared sensitivity and a reduction in area revisit times over the current constellation. The scanning sensor will provide a wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the earth, while the staring sensor will be used to observe smaller areas of interest with superior sensitivity.