SBIRS program completes major GEO launch readiness milestone
By Maj. Judd Jones, 460th Operations Group
/ Published February 22, 2011
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 460 Operations Group Detachment 1, working as part of the Space and Missile Center (SMC) Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Directorate' s Combined Task Force (CTF), announced successful completion of the largest ever on-orbit rehearsal for the first SBIRS Geosynchronous (GEO) satellite.
The Activity 11 (A11) rehearsal was a full-scale, continuous rehearsal of the integrated GEO launch and on-orbit activation team. "A11 was a major milestone as the SBIRS team prepares for the first GEO launch," said Lt. Col. Chris Sullivan, 460th Operations Group Det. 1 commander.
A11 covered ten days with over 500 participants at four interconnected centers. The team exercised a Launch and Early Orbit Test scenario over a compressed timeline consisting of launch countdown, transfer orbit, deployment and activation, and infrared payload calibration procedures.
The team also exercised anomaly resolution processes to ensure system health and safety in case contingencies occur in orbit. The rehearsal was very successful and exceeded readiness projections for the 104 goals and objectives.
"This rehearsal exemplified the strong partnership between contractor and government developers, testers, and operation crews who make up 'Team SBIRS,'" said Lt. Col. John Grafelman, SBIRS CTF Director.
Additionally, a team consisting of retired senior Air Force personnel and Aerospace Corporation employees observed the activity as an independent review team to provide an evaluation of program readiness. Their assessment was that the "team is technically ready to handle anything thrown at them."
"I could not be more proud of the team's effort. Launch Readiness is an incredibly complex operation and the A11 Rehearsal is one of the most demanding events on the schedule. By all accounts, the Combined Task Force has without a doubt proven that it is ready to handle its role in delivering the next generation of missile warning capability," stated Col. Chance Saltzman, 460th OG commander.
"Completion of A11 marks the countdown to the Mission Dress Rehearsal just prior to the scheduled launch on May 4.