The fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO-5) satellite built by Lockheed Martin, has been operationally accepted by the U.S. Space Force less than a year after being launched into orbit. The early missile warning satellite is a “Go-Fast” success story, completing all on-orbit testing with accelerated analysis, resulting in a 40% improvement over GEO-1 through GEO-4 average testing times.
The Space Force announced Friday that its Space Operations Command has accepted SBIRS GEO-5 as operationally capable and has presented it to the U.S. Space Command for operational use. The satellite is now being operated by the Space Delta’s 2d Space Warning Squadron (2 SWS) at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado.
Enhanced LM2100 Combat Bus™
SBIRS GEO-5 was launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on May 18, 2021, marking the first military satellite launch of Lockheed Martin’s LM2100 Combat Bus™. The enhanced LM2100 bus has become a game changer for military satellite design, providing satellite production efficiency, enhanced resiliency options and much more flexibility for additional payloads and sensors.
The bus is an enhanced space vehicle that also provides greater cyber-hardening against growing threats, improved spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics, common components and procedures to streamline manufacturing, as well as a flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites.
On-orbit Testing Exceeds Expectations
Once SBIRS GEO-5 was separated from the upper-stage of its rocket, satellite operations personnel began a series of planned transfer orbit maneuvers to place it into its final orbit. The satellite reached its intended orbit and began checkout activities of its light shade, solar arrays, and antennas. Once Space Systems Command (SSC) and Lockheed Martin completed checkout activities, the teams tuned and calibrated the payload sensors and readied them for warfighter use.
“SBIRS GEO-5 exceeded performance expectations during on-orbit testing,” said Michael Corriea, Lockheed Martin OPIR Mission Area Vice President. “With the declaration of operational acceptance less than a year from launch, the LM 2100-built GEO-5 completed all on-orbit testing and analysis 40% faster compared to GEO-1 through GEO-4 average testing times.”
SBIRS GEO-5 is the fifth of six SBIRS GEO satellites built by Lockheed Martin for SSC. Its addition will ensure that the U.S. will continue to deliver critical missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness data to the warfighter for years to come. As for SBIRS GEO-6, it will also feature a LM2100 Combat Bus™ and is currently on track for a summer 2022 launch.
The two new SBIRS Combat Bus™ satellites will join the Space Force’s constellation of missile warning satellites, equipped with powerful infrared surveillance sensors that protect our nation 24-7. These sensors collect data that allow the U.S. military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.