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Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)

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SBIRS, considered one of the nation’s highest priority space programs, is designed to provide global, persistent, infrared surveillance capabilities to meet 21st century demands in four national security mission areas:

Missile Warning
SBIRS will provide reliable, unambiguous, timely and accurate warning for theater and strategic missile launches to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, Combatant Commanders, and other users

Missile Defense
The system will deliver critical information supporting the effective operation of missile defense systems against national and theater threats

Technical Intelligence
SBIRS will provide the ability to characterize infrared (IR) event signatures, phenomenology, and threat performance data for strategic and operational combatant commanders, the intelligence community, and others

Battlespace Awareness
The SBIRS constellation will deliver comprehensive infrared data to Combatant Commanders, Joint Task Force Commanders and other users to help characterize battlespace conditions supporting force protection, strike planning and other missions.

The SBIRS architecture consists of hosted sensor payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), dedicated Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting (GEO) satellites, and the associated ground infrastructure to receive, process, and deliver the infrared information to key decision makers.

The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman, as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.

Lockheed Martin's original SBIRS contract includes HEO payloads, two geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The team is also under a follow-on production contract to deliver additional HEO payloads, the third and fourth GEO satellites, and associated ground modifications. 

Atlas V SBIRS GEO-1 Launch Highlights

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 with the Air Force's Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) GEO-1 payload. This marks the 50th successful launch for ULA since the company was formed in December 2006. Credit: ULA

SBIRS GEO-1 Air Force Launch Video

Krista Knaus reports live from the SBIRS GEO-1 Launch Activities at Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida Credit: U.S. Air Force

SBIRS GEO-1 satellite C-5 transfer to Cape Canaveral AFS, FL

SBIRS GEO-1 satellite transfers from Sunnyvale, Califonia to Cape Canaveral AFS in preparation for launch early May. Col. Roger Teague, Director of Infrared Space Systems Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB. Krista Knaus Reporting. Credit: U.S. Air Force

Atlas V SBIRS GEO-1 Launch Highlights

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41 with the Air Force's Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) GEO-1 payload. This marks the 50th successful launch for ULA since the company was formed in December 2006. Credit: ULA

SBIRS GEO Art

An artist’s rendering of the SBIRS GEO spacecraft.

SBIRS GEO-1

Engineers get one last look at the first dedicated SBIRS satellite before it is encapsulated into the launch vehicle payload fairing in preparation for launch.

SBIRS GEO-1

The first Lockheed Martin-built Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) spacecraft was encapsulated into its payload fairing April 20 in preparation for an early May liftoff aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla..

SBIRS GEO-1

Lockheed Martin engineers complete final factory work on the first SBIRS geosynchronous (GEO-1) spacecraft at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.

SBIRS GEO-1

The first SBIRS geosynchronous (GEO-1) spacecraft stands ready to be lowered into its shipping container in preparation for its delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for launch.

SBIRS GEO-1 in MATS container

In Sunnyvale, Calif., Lockheed Martin engineers prepare the first geosynchronous (GEO-1) Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) spacecraft for shipment to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

SBIRS GEO Art

An artist’s rendering of the SBIRS GEO spacecraft.