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SBIRS HEO-3 Shipped

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- The third Space Based
Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) payload was shipped
June 12 to the host space vehicle program. The HEO payload is a high-tech
space-based sensor capable of detecting missile launches around the globe.
The payload will be integrated with a host spacecraft and prepared for

Prior to shipment, HEO-3 passed many significant production milestones. The
payload completed Thermal Vacuum Chamber testing March 30, verifying
performance in simulated space environmental extremes. This testing fully
demonstrated that the sensor's performance met or exceeded its predecessor,

The Infrared Space Systems Directorate approved shipping the payload June
11, after completing an extensive series of final readiness reviews. HEO-3
is the first major delivery from the SBIRS Follow-on Production contract,
which also includes the third and fourth SBIRS satellites and an additional
HEO payload.

"I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of the joint Air Force
and contractor team, that worked long hours to ensure HEO-3 satisfied all
requirements," said Maj. Eric Neubert, HEO program manager. "The shipment of
this payload meets an important commitment for our production program and
keeps us on track to sustain the unprecedented infrared surveillance
capabilities that we provide to our warfighters and the Nation."

As one of the nation's highest priority space programs, SBIRS delivers
global, persistent, and taskable infrared surveillance capabilities to meet
21st century missile-warning demands and simultaneously supports other
critical missions including: missile defense, technical intelligence, and
battlespace awareness.

The SBIRS development team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate
at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, LAAFB, Calif.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime
contractor, with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., as the
payload integrator. The 14th Air Force operates the SBIRS system.

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