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June 13, 2022

USSF’s SSC delivers last SBIRS GEO satellite to Cape Canaveral

The sixth and final space vehicle will complete the SBIRS constellation.

The US Space Force’s (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) has delivered the sixth and last Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite (GEO).

The SBIRS GEO-6 was delivered from the Lockheed Martin Space facility in Sunnyvale, California, to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

It was transported aboard a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft. An SBIRS team based at Los Angeles Air Force Base (AFB) in California and a flight crew from the US Air Force’s (USAF) 60th Air Mobility Wing based at Travis AFB, California, supported the delivery.

SSC SBIRS GEO-5/6 production programme manager major Matthew Blystone said: “It represents long-term collaboration between USSF and a team of Lockheed Martin Space, Northrop Grumman Space Systems, The Aerospace Corporation, multiple support contractors, and government personnel.

“Our near-peer adversaries continue to evolve missile technologies to be more lethal and difficult to detect; SBIRS allows us to continue outpacing those threats.”

The delivery of the last space vehicle marks the completion of the SBIRS constellation and the end of the development programme.

The SBIRS constellation delivers constant infrared surveillance for supporting missile defence, technical intelligence, missile warning and battlespace awareness.

This data allows the intelligence community, Missile Defence Agency, and combatant commands and coalition partners to ensure the security of the US and its allies.

The SSC is currently working on the production of the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (NGG) system.

The Next-Gen OPIR system will eventually replace the SBIRS satellites. It will act as the first indicator of any missile launch and provide resilient missile warning capability against counter-space and emerging missile threats.

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