First GEO satellite arrives in Florida
By Space and Missile Center and 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 10, 2011
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- The U.S. Air Force's Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) program completed a major program milestone early March 4, successfully delivering the first geosynchronous satellite (GEO-1) to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The delivery of GEO-1 sets the path for final checkout of the space vehicle before launch. The satellite will be processed in the Defense Satellite Communications System Processing Facility. Work began immediately on Friday, when the satellite was hoisted from the shipping container and positioned into the high bay.
Final launch preparation activities include a Launch Base Confidence Test to verify satellite integrity after shipment, an intersegment test to verify communication compatibility from the satellite to the on-orbit operations center and final battery reconditioning for launch. Following these activities, the satellite will be fueled and prepared for integrated processing with the Atlas V booster.
"The SBIRS team has met or exceeded all significant program objectives leading to this important milestone and there is great enthusiasm and excitement across our entire workforce. We are positioned well to successfully launch the first SBIRS satellite," said Col. Roger Teague, director of Infrared Space Systems Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB.
The GEO-1 satellite is scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral in early May.
The satellite was transported from the Lockheed Martin satellite integration facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., via a C-5 Galaxy aircraft.
The C-5 crew from the 22nd Airlift Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif., ensured GEO-1 was transported safely and according to the time sensitive schedule. Also essential to the success of the mission was security support provided by the 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard. "Safe transport of the SBIRS satellite was paramount and the Total Force government and contractor team worked tirelessly to ensure mission success," said Teague.
The SBIRS program is designed to replace the Defense Support Program satellite constellation. The program will provide significantly enhanced capabilities to support missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence missions. The state of the art SBIRS sensors will provide enhanced operational capability for the warfighter and technical community.
For the 460th Space Wing, SBIRS GEO-1 will round out its capability to provide national command authorities, our allies and combatant commanders with the next generation of missile warning capabilities. Furthermore, the 460th SW has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure a smooth transition from the SMC-led launch and checkout to full scale mission operations executed by the 460th Operations Group.
"We're extremely proud of the SBIRS Team, whose tireless effort and teamwork has led to the successful achievement of this milestone. The 460th SW's presence for GEO-1 delivery represents the strong partnership we've forged with the SBIRS program, we look forward to supporting GEO-1 Launch, Early Orbit Test and successful transition to operations," said, Lt. Col. Rob Myhre, Deputy Commander, 460th Operations Group, at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
The 460th SW has been working and testing GEO-1 with SMC to ensure that the space craft will operate correctly once on orbit.