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  • Satellite Evolution

SBIRS GEO-6 satellite control authority transferred to Space Operations Command

The Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit – Satellite-6 (SBIRS GEO-6) was formally transferred from Space Systems Command (SSC) to Space Operations Command (SpOC), March 24, 2023.

SBIRS GEO-6’s LM2100 Combat Bus™ is an enhanced space vehicle that provides even greater resiliency and cyber-hardening against growing threats, improved spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics, common components, and procedures to streamline manufacturing, as well as a flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites.

“SBIRS GEO-6 exceeded performance expectations during on-orbit testing,” said Col. Daniel Walter, Strategic Missile Warning Acquisition Delta commander, Space Sensing, Space Systems Command. “It was a very clean calibration campaign, allowing us to declare operational acceptance about 40 percent faster than our historic average testing times.”

Space Delta 4’s 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado, is now operating the satellite, and all systems are performing nominally.

The 2nd SWS operates SBIRS as part of their mission to defend and deliver trusted, persistent, space-based global missile warning and battlespace awareness in support of U.S. and allied forces.

“Our nation depends on SBIRS and the dedication of our Guardians, Airmen and civilians who support this vital mission, which helps ensure our safety and security every day,” said Col. Ethan Mattox, SpOC’s Missile Warning/Tracking Mission Area Team chief. “The space professionals at the 2nd Space Warning Squadron and Space Base Delta 4 are proud to continue SBIRS GEO-6 operations in support of warfighters across the globe. Many thanks to our SSC teammates and industry partners for enabling this smooth transition to operations.”

“The operational acceptance of SBIRS GEO-6 marks the completion of the SBIRS GEO system, representing a pivotal moment in SSC’s history,” said Col. Brian Denaro, program executive officer, Space Sensing, Space Systems Command. “SBIRS is the result of many years of hard work and collaboration with industry partners to leverage their knowledge and resources to deliver critical capabilities to the warfighter and our allies.”

SBIRS GEO-6, built by Lockheed Martin, launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket August 4, 2022.

Upon separation from the Atlas V’s Centaur upper-stage, SBIRS GEO-6 reached its intended orbit and satellite operations personnel began checkout activities of its light shade, solar arrays, and antennas. Following these activities, the team tuned and calibrated the payload sensors and readied them for warfighter use.

"The addition of SBIRS GEO-6 to the constellation ensures the viability of our missile warning constellation for years to come," said Maj. Matthew Blystone, program manager, SBIRS GEO-5/6, Strategic Missile Warning Acquisition Delta, Space Sensing, Space Systems Command.

The SBIRS GEO constellation works in concert with the Defense Support Program (DSP) constellation to provide missile warning capabilities by detecting missile launches, space liftoffs and nuclear detonations. The SBIRS constellation will augment and eventually replace the aging DSP constellation and is a direct upgrade to the current capabilities, providing enhanced support to the warfighter mission.


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