LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The U.S. Space Force successfully launched the fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite on an Atlas V launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, May 18, at 1:37 p.m.
SBIRS GEO-5 separated from the upper stage approximately 45 minutes after launch. Following separation, the spacecraft began a series of orbital maneuvers to propel it to a geosynchronous earth orbit. Once on orbit, engineers will deploy the satellite's solar arrays and antennas. The engineers will then complete checkout and tests in preparation for operational use.
“Thanks to the diligent efforts of the government and contractor teams, the SBIRS program has launched another critical asset into the nation’s Overhead Persistent Infrared constellation,” said Cordell DeLaPena, Jr., U.S. Space Force Program Executive Officer for Space Production. “The SBIRS program not only represents a new era of overhead infrared surveillance offering vital support to the national defense mission, but also the dedication of space acquisition and production professionals to ensuring the U.S. and its allies have increased global situational awareness.”
“Congratulations to the entire integrated team on the first NSSL Atlas V launch of 2021,” said Col. Erin Gulden, SBIRS GEO-5 launch mission director and chief of SMC’s Atlas and Delta Division. “I am proud of our strong partnership across the many government organizations and multitude of industry partners and the team’s unwavering commitment to deliver national space capabilities and critical warfighter support.”
SBIRS is managed by the Production Corps at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, California, is the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Space Systems, Azusa, California, is the payload developer. Space Delta 4 at Buckley AFB, Aurora, Colorado, operates the SBIRS constellation. United Launch Alliance provided launch services for this mission.
The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile-warning and infrared surveillance information to the president, secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, 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 domain awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.
SMC is the center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning systems, military satellite communications, a meteorological satellite control network, range systems, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.