Press Release

Lockheed Martin Achieves Key Integration Milestones on Second SBIRS Missile Warning Satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
June 10, 2009
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The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT-led team developing the U.S. Air Force’s Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) has successfully mated the spacecraft bus with the infrared sensor payload for the second geosynchronous SBIRS spacecraft (GEO-2). The payload installation closely followed successful completion of spacecraft bus integration and safe-to-mate tests that included the first power-on of the spacecraft.

SBIRS will provide early warning of ballistic missile launches and support other missions simultaneously, including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.

The GEO-2 bus is the structural foundation of the satellite and includes an integrated propulsion system as well as other critical subsystems for communications, attitude control, thermal control, command and data handling. The GEO-2 payload features a scanning sensor that will provide for short revisit times over its full field of view and a staring sensor that can be tasked for dedicated stare operations over smaller areas.

“The team has been diligent in incorporating lessons learned during the groundbreaking integration and test of the first GEO space vehicle,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS GEO-2 program manager. “We have significantly streamlined the integration and test flow, eliminated duplicative testing and developed new support equipment to allow for more precise integration and faster vehicle reconfiguration.”

Lt Col Heath Collins, the Air Force SBIRS Space Squadron Commander, said, “This focus on continuous process improvement and disciplined execution will ensure that the joint contractor-U.S. Air Force team delivers superior persistent infrared sensing capabilities for the United States and our allies.”

The successful GEO-2 payload and bus integration allows the SBIRS team to begin system level environmental and acceptance testing in preparation for launch in 2011.

The SBIRS team is led by the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base in Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.

Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS contract includes the two highly elliptical orbit (HEO) payloads now on-orbit, two geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The team was recently awarded a 1.5-billion contract for the third HEO payload, the third GEO-3 satellite and associated ground modifications. A contract to include a fourth HEO payload and potential fourth GEO satellite is expected to be awarded later this year.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.

Media Contacts:
Steve Tatum, 408-742-7531; e-mail,
Michael Friedman, 408-742-3516; email,

For low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of the SBIRS GEO-2 payload
and spacecraft, please visit our SBIRS web page at:

SpaceRef staff editor.