A fourth missile warning satellite Lockheed Martin built for the U.S. Air Force has been sealed in a protective launch fairing ahead of a scheduled Jan. 18 launch.
Lockheed said Thursday it encapsulated the Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight-4 satellite at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where it will lift off aboard a United Launch Alliance-made Atlas V rocket.
SBIRS GEO Flight-4 will join a constellation of satellites designed to deliver missile launch detection, ballistic missile defense and situational awareness support to the U.S. military.
The GEO-1 and GEO-2 satellites achieved operational acceptance from the Air Force Space Command in 2013, while the GEO-3 spacecraft sent its first images to Earth in March 2017.
Lockheed received authorization from the Air Force in September 2017 to begin the manufacturing and integration of the GEO-5 and GEO-6 satellites.