A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched the Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO) missile warning satellite into orbit on May 18.
The mission launched on an Atlas V 421 configuration rocket that included a 13.7-ft (4-m) Extra Extended Payload Fairing (XEPF).
The launch took place a day later than initially planned due to an issue with the rocket’s liquid oxygen system.
According to ULA, the Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the RL10C-1-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage and the two AJ-60A solid rocket boosters.
The Lockheed Martin-built SBIRS GEO-5 is the first of two new SBIRS missile defense satellites and the fourth satellite built on Lockheed Martin’s new, modernized LM 2100 satellite bus.
Following a successful launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Tuesday, the US Space Force’s Space Delta 4 operations team is now “talking” with satellite.
SBIRS GEO-5 is the latest satellite to join the Space Force’s orbiting Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) missile warning constellation equipped with powerful scanning and staring surveillance sensors. These 24-7, always-on, orbital guardians detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.
“The world is a more threatening place now with more than 1,000 ballistic missile launches occurring globally every year,” said Tom McCormick, vice president of Lockheed Martin Space’s OPIR Mission Area. “SBIRS is the tip of the missile defense spear, seeing all those missiles and providing our military the ability to ensure our national security and the safety of our armed forces.”
Built in about five years, SBIRS GEO-5 is the first military space satellite built on an LM 2100 Combat Bus, a version of Lockheed Martin’s modernized, modular LM 2100 space vehicle with enhanced resiliency.
SBIRS GEO-5 is a step toward achieving the resilient missile warning to be provided by SBIRS’ follow on, the Next Gen OPIR Block 0 System. SBIRS GEO-6, launching in 2022, and the first three Next Gen OPIR Block 0 GEO satellites, as well as the future GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites, are also based on the LM 2100 Combat Bus.