The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that a fourth Lockheed Martin-built missile warning satellite responded to initial commands shortly after the spacecraft’s launch on Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Lockheed said Friday the Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight-4 satellite received initial signals from the Air Force’s 460th Space Wing approximately 37 minutes following its deployment aboard a United Launch Alliance-made Atlas V rocket.
SBIRS GEO Flight-4 is the newest satellite of the SBIRS constellation that works to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense and deliver situational awareness data to the U.S. military.
The satellite will start moving to its final location in geosynchronous orbit ahead of scheduled on-orbit tests.
A Lockheed-designed SBIRS ground control system at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado works to gather data from SBIRS satellites and generates “actionable” reports for defense, intelligence and civil uses.
Tom McCormick, vice president of Lockheed’s overhead persistent infrared systems mission area, said that the company is integrating the LM 2100 satellite bus into the fifth and sixth SBIRS satellites as part of a modernization effort.