The satellite – Lockheed Martin’s sixth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit missile warning vehicle – is now in storage awaiting its launch in 2022.
Once launched, SBIRS GEO-6 will join the Space Force’s constellation of missile warning satellites. These are equipped with infrared surveillance sensors that collect data to allow the U.S. military to detect missile launches, expand technical intelligence gathering and improve battlefield situational awareness.
Like its immediate predecessor, SBIRS GEO-5, which launched on 18 May 2021, SBIRS GEO-6 is built on a modernised space vehicle design, says the company. The enhanced LM2100 Combat Bus is said to provide greater resiliency and cyber-hardening against growing threats, as well as improved spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics.
“Furthermore, the performance of SBIRS GEO-5’s LM2100 Combat Bus has exceeded expectations throughout the on orbit test campaign since its launch,” said Tom McCormick, Lockheed Martin’s vp for Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems.
“The LM2100 is a game changer for military satellite design providing satellite production efficiency, enhanced resiliency options and so much more flexibility for additional payloads and sensors. From the LM2100, we’ve really been able to enhance resiliency developing a ‘Combat Bus’ and a bridge to achieving the resilient missile warning required for the Space Force’s Next-Gen OPIR Block 0 System.”
SBIRS GEO-6 in TVAC
The SBIRS GEO-6 is pictured right during Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing.
The SBIRS GEO-5 transmitted its first images back to Earth, in a milestone known as “First Light”, in June 2021.
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