Air Force Begins Independent Test of SBIRS Ground Station
SUNNYVALE, CA, 18-JUN-01 -- The Air Force has begun comprehensive testing of the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) ground station that will replace three legacy Defense Support Program (DSP) control centers. The Air Force Operation Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC), an independent evaluation arm of the Air Force, will review the ground station's performance at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo. for 90 days. The goal of the AFOTEC test is to estimate the prospective system's operational effectiveness and suitability in as realistic an operational environment as possible. The SBIRS Mission Control Station (MCS), recently accepted by the Air Force to begin the round of testing, is the first of three elements that Lockheed Martin is designing and developing for the SBIRS program. The new ground station is expected to begin assuming DSP's daily duties in the fall once AFOTEC reports its findings from the test -- referred to as Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). The DSP stations will be phased out after the SBIRS ground station achieves Initial Operational Capability. The phase-out is expected to be complete in early 2002.
Military personnel who will run the operational system are testing the MCS to verify it can accurately and timely detect and report missile launches and that its design complies with Air Force maintenance standards.
Lockheed Martin officials are confident the system will perform well in the AFOTEC review because the company modeled its in-house tests after military procedures.
We have a bright team of industry and government professionals working on SBIRS, and we're certain the Mission Control Station will perform its missions in this test period and proceed smoothly to Initial Operational Capability in the fall, said Tom Dougherty, Lockheed Martin vice president of SBIRS and defensive systems.
The company is responsible for the SBIRS high component, which includes four Geostationary Earth Orbit satellites, two Highly Elliptical Orbit satellites and ground assets including a MCS, a backup MCS, a mobile MCS, and overall element integration between SBIRS high and low.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, including heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.