SBIRS satellite successfully launched after delay

The newest missile warning satellite was successfully launched into orbit Jan. 20.

The launch of Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 3 took place from Cape Canaveral after a planned Jan. 19 launch was delayed because of a sensor glitch. The satellite, carried aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V, is now responding to ground commands.

After delay, Air Force plans for SBIRS satellite launch

The Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO) satellite was set to launch Jan. 19, but a "wayward" aircraft and technical issues resulted in a series of delays. The Air Force and United Launch Alliance, which will loft the satellite via its Atlas V rocket, hope Jan. 20 will be the evening SBIRS GEO Flight 3 heads to space. (Amber Corrin/Staff)

"The satellite will begin transitioning to its final location in geosynchronous orbit, approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth," a Lockheed Martin announcement stated. "There, the satellite's solar arrays, light shade and antennas will be deployed to begin early on-orbit testing."

"The next satellite, GEO Flight 4, will undergo final assembly, integration and test prior to its planned 2017 launch," Lockheed Martin said. "SBIRS GEO-5 and GEO-6, which are currently in production, incorporate a new common spacecraft bus, the modernized A2100, to dramatically reduce costs and cycle times while increasing the potential to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites."

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