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MISSILE DEFENSE
SBIRS GEO-2 launches, improves space-based capabilities
by Staff Writers
Buckley AFB CO (SPX) Apr 02, 2013


A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 carrying the second U.S. Air Force Space-Based Infrared System GEO-2 satellite March 19, 2013, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SBIRS persistent surveillance capabilities enable detection and reporting of missile launches around the globe, support the nation's ballistic missile defense system, expand technical intelligence, and gather and bolster situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield. (United Launch Alliance photo by Pat Corkery).

In support of the Buckley missile warning and awareness mission, the second Space-Based Infrared System geosynchronous earth orbit launched into space March 19 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The satellite, called GEO-2, provides more advanced space-based capabilities than Defense Support Program satellites, which are being replaced by the GEO satellites after more than four decades in operation.

"While DSP has been the workhorse for missile warning and missile defense for the last 40-plus years, SBIRS GEO takes us into the next generation with a revolutionary increase in detection capability," said Col.

DeAnna Burt, 460th Operations Group commander. "The successful launch of GEO-2 continues to bring greater detection capability to the Overhead Persistent Infrared enterprise. GEO-2 will allow the 460th to provide near real time, high fidelity OPIR data to warfighters around the world."

The capabilities of the GEO-2 involve a new era of overhead infrared surveillance that will deliver unprecedented global, persistent and actionable infrared surveillance. Such resources enable the U.S. and its allies to continuously maintain global situational awareness.

SBIRS persistent surveillance capabilities enable detection and reporting of missile launches around the globe, support the nation's ballistic missile defense system, expand technical intelligence, and gather and bolster situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.

The GEO-2 was carried by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The launch team consisted of military, government civilians and contractors from the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.

"The successful launch of GEO-2 is a testament to the partnership between industry, the SBIRS Space Program Office and the 460th Space Wing," Burt said.

The U.S. Air Force Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., leads the SBIRS development and acquisition. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime contractor; Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., is the payload integrator; and the 14th Air Force operates the SBIRS system.

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