The US Space Force (USSF) Space Delta 4 operations team began dialogue with the fifth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite (SBIRS GEO-5) 36 minutes after launch on 18 May.
Built by Lockheed Martin, SBIRS GEO-5 is the latest satellite to join the USSF orbiting Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) missile warning constellation. These 24-7 orbital guardians detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defence, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield. SBIRS GEO-5 is the first military space satellite built on an LM 2100 Combat Bus, a version of the company’s modernized, modular LM 2100 space vehicle with greatly enhanced resilience. The bus results from an internally-funded initiative. Features include:
- Greater resilience and cyber-hardening
- Enhanced spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics
- Common components and procedures to streamline manufacturing
- Flexible design, reducing costs to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites
“The world is a more threatening place now with more than 1,000 ballistic missile launches occurring globally every year,” observed Tom McCormick, VP of Lockheed Martin Space’s OPIR Mission Area. “SBIRS is the tip of the missile defense spear, seeing all those missiles and providing our military the ability to ensure our national security and the safety of our armed forces […] We designed our modernized LM2100 bus with our military customers’ changing, more-contested environment, in mind […] By adding enhanced resiliency features to the LM 2100, we created an initial ‘combat bus’ for the Space Force for even greater capability.”
SBIRS GEO-5 marks a step toward achieving the resilient missile warning to be provided by SBIRS’ follow-on, the Next Gen OPIR Block 0 System. SBIRS GEO-6, launching in 2022, and the first three Next Gen OPIR Block 0 GEO satellites, as well as the future GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites, are also based on the LM 2100 Combat Bus.
Led by Production Corps Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Division, the SBIRS team includes Lockheed Martin Space as prime contractor and Northrop Grumman as payload integrator.