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Lockheed Martin Delivers Key Payload Hardware For Second Missile Warning Satellite

The first SBIRS geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellite during spacecraft ambient functional testing at Lockheed Martin's facilities in Sunnyvale, California. Credit: Lockheed Martin.
by Staff Writers
Sunnyvale CA (SPX) Oct 27, 2006
Lockheed Martin has delivered a critical payload subsystem for the second geosynchronous orbit (GEO-2) satellite in the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program. SBIRS will provide significantly enhanced missile warning capabilities and support other national security missions simultaneously including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace characterization.

The company shipped the second Pointing and Control Assembly (PCA) to Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif. for integration into the GEO-2 payload. The PCA is a major payload subsystem that allows the spacecraft's optical telescopes to be positioned precisely to scan and stare at designated areas, enabling operators to modify the areas of surveillance according to national priorities.

"Delivery of this key hardware reflects the team's commitment to successful program execution with a focus on quality and timeliness," said Mark Crowley, Lockheed Martin's SBIRS vice president. "SBIRS GEO spacecraft will play an integral role in our national security space architecture and we look forward to providing this new capability to the warfighter."

The delivery followed a successful acceptance test milestone at Lockheed Martin's facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif., which demonstrated that the precision pointing performance is better than program requirements by a factor of two or more. The acceptance testing was also used for further checkout of software upgrades that will support thermal vacuum testing of the GEO-1 Payload.

The GEO PCA features Lockheed Martin's patented reactionless gimbal system, which allows the satellite to rapidly and repeatedly scan an area of interest for infrared activity while not interfering with the satellite's ability to simultaneously stare at another area

Development of the first SBIRS GEO satellite is also progressing. Northrop Grumman is scheduled to deliver the completed payload for GEO-1 to Lockheed Martin's facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif., in mid-2007 for final spacecraft assembly, integration and test in preparation for launch in late 2008.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the SBIRS prime contractor and systems integrator and is currently under contract to provide two payloads in highly elliptical orbit (HEO) and two GEO satellites, as well as fixed and mobile ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The team has delivered both HEO payloads and is on track to launch the first GEO satellite in late 2008.

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