Preparations for the launch of the United States Air Force SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite are on track for its January 19 launch. The satellite will be launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Following its arrival at Cape Canaveral on October 31, the SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite completed standard post-shipment testing. The satellite is now being fueled with the necessary manoeuvring propellant required for in-orbit operation. Once fueled, the satellite will be mounted atop the Atlas 5 launch vehicle and enclosed in its mission fairing.
SBIRS GEO Flight 4 is the fourth of a constellation of satellites built by Lockheed Martin for the US Air Force. The four geostationary satellites will be used in combination with National Reconnaissance Office surveillance satellites to allow for early warning missile detection.
“The delivery, launch, and successful operation of GEO Flight 4 will mark the fulfillment of the original SBIRS baseline constellation and reaffirm our commitment to provide our country, warfighters, and senior leaders with timely, reliable, and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information.” said the commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space, Lt. Gen. John Thompson.
Although Lockheed Martin had originally been contracted to build just four SBIRS GEO satellites, the Air Force has since ordered two more. The two additional satellites are set to be launched by the early 2020s.
The launch of the SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 is scheduled for an early January 19 liftoff. The 40-minute launch window will open at 00:40 GMT (19:50 EST on Jan. 18). If there are any updates to the launch, they will be updated for easy viewing in the Rocket Rundown launch schedule.
Image Credit: United Launch Alliance