The US Air Force (USAF) and Lockheed Martin will launch the first space-based infrared system (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) spacecraft today.

The spacecraft will be launched aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US.

The GEO-1 satellite includes advanced scanning and staring sensors to deliver enhanced infrared sensitivity and a wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the earth.

SBIRS GEO-1 will enhance early warning of missile launches and support the nation’s ballistic missile defence system, while also offering increased technical intelligence gathering capability and enhanced situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.

Lockheed is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman as the payload integrator and the USAF Space Command as the system operator.