The U.S. Air Force is scheduled to launch a Lockheed Martin-built missile warning satellite Thursday onboard a United Launch Alliance-made Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight 3 satellite will work to perform surveillance operations in support of missile warning and defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence missions, Lockheed said Tuesday.
The company noted the launch window for the satellite is between 7:46 and 8:26 p.m. Eastern time.
The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite will use cameras and sensors to identify and monitor missile launches and other infrared events once it reaches approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth.
Lockheed said the SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite is slated for launch in 2017 and is scheduled to undergo final assembly, integration and testing phases.
The company also has begun development work on SBIR GEO-5 and GEO-6 satellites that will incorporate Lockheed's updated A2100 spacecraft bus.
Lockheed serves as the prime contractor on the SBIRS satellite program, while Northrop Grumman's aerospace systems business acts as the payload integrator.
The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center's remote sensing systems directorate leads the SBIRS development team, while the 460th space wing at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado runs the SBIRS platform.