Successful SBIRS High Test for Lockheed
DID has covered some of the problems associated with the U.S. military’s new Space-Based Infrared System High (SBIRS High) missile early warning system. Now, some good news. Lockheed Martin has successfully completed a crucial “jitter” test of the geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellite’s optical systems.
The ability to use SBIRS High’s complex Pointing and Control Assembly to make ongoing adjustments in coverage, and even use one optical system to rapidly and repeatedly scan an area of interest for infrared activity while a second optical system simultaneously stares at another area, is a critical aspect of SBIRS High’s intended capabilities.
When fully operational, SBIRS High will comprise two payloads in highly elliptical orbit (HEO), four satellites in geosynchronous orbit ( GEO ), as well as fixed and mobile ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA is the SBIRS High prime contractor. Payload provider Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Azusa, CA has completed both HEO payloads and is on track to begin final integration and test of the first GEO satellite later this year, in preparation for intended launch in fiscal year 2008.
In addition to providing early warning of missile launches, SBIRS will support other missions simultaneously, including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace characterization. The SBIRS program is led by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA.