The US Air Force (USAF) has completed the final integrated system test (FIST) of the first space-based infrared system (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) satellite.

The launch of GEO-1 will enhance the US’s early missile warning capabilities and support other critical security missions, including missile defence, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.

The completion of the test marks the verification of the spacecraft’s performance and functionality in preparation for delivery to the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US, for its scheduled 2011 launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.

The USAF SBIRS team, comprising Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, will complete final space-to-ground interface system testing, perform final spacecraft component installations and conduct a final factory confidence test.

The team is set to complete the spacecraft’s comprehensive flight software qualification testing programme early next year.