Atlas V Rocket Launches US Missile-Warning Satellite

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket bloody off from Florida currently (Jan. 20) to put a missile-detection and early warning satellite into circuit for a U.S. military.


The 19-story-tall rocket bolted off a strand launch pad here during Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during 7:42 p.m. EST (0042 GMT Saturday), kicking off a initial of 11 missions on ULA’s 2017 calendar.

Launch was behind one day after a craft flew into limited launch airspace during a final mins of a countdown on Thursday (Jan. 19). Liftoff had already been pushed behind into a final notation of a 40-minute launch window to solve an emanate with sensors on a rocket’s RD-180 categorical engine. [Launch Photos: SBIRS Geo-3 Missile-Warning Satellite]

An Atlas V rocket carrying a U.S. Air Force's SBIRS Geo-3 barb warning satellite streaks into circuit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Jan. 20, 2017 in this fantastic long-exposure view.
Credit: United Launch Alliance

Perched on tip of a rocket was a 10,000-lb. (4,536 kilograms) Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite, or SBIRS Geo-3, built by Lockheed Martin Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The satellite is partial of a network that provides U.S. troops and comprehension communities and their allies with fast, accurate warning of rivalry missile launches.

The constellation supplements, and will eventually replace, bequest Defense Support Program satellites that were put into circuit from 1970 to 2007.

“Geo Flight 3 will yield faster and some-more accurate barb warning to a warfighter, detect dimmer events and shorter barb browns than a … DSP satellites,” Dennis Bythewood, executive of a Remote Sensing Systems Directorate during a Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, pronounced in a statement.

The U.S. Air Force's SBIRS Geo-3 barb warning satellite was launched into space atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Jan. 20, 2017.
Credit: United Launch Alliance

“It will also raise point-of-origin integrity and point-of-impact prediction, as good as fulfilling mixed inhabitant invulnerability mandate in a common system,” he said.

The barb warning satellite Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit 3, or SBIRS Geo-3, before launch.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

The new satellite, that cost a troops about $1.2 billion including a launch, will join dual others encircling some 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) above a planet’s equator.

A fourth SBIRS, that will finish a initial constellation, is slated to fly in November. Two additional SBIRS Geo satellites are underneath construction.

The satellites, that are designed to final during slightest 12 years, are formed on an upgraded, radiation-hardened chronicle of Lockheed’s A2100 blurb spacecraft. Their sensor packages include of dual infrared detectors, supposing by Northrop Grumman, one of that will ceaselessly indicate a universe while a other maintains concentration on a sold aim or region.

“While some satellites can usually ‘see’ what is directly next them, a SBIRS constellation has a perspective of a whole world, scanning for wide-area notice and staring during spots of interest,” Lockheed pronounced in a press release.

SBIRS has a four-part mission. “First is barb warning, that provides unmatched, timely tellurian and museum barb launch showing capability for a homeland, a allies and warfighters abroad,” Bythewood said.

“Second is barb defense, that allows us to urge opposite antagonistic vital and museum barb threats. Third is battle-space awareness, that bolsters situational recognition for warfighters on a terrain by exploiting infrared information of human events in tandem with other information sources.

“The fourth is technical intelligence, that expands a believe of stream and destiny capabilities of counter systems,” Bythewood said.

Information collected by SBIRS also is accessible for municipal purposes, such as firefighting and healthy disaster response, Lockheed noted.

Friday’s launch was a 116th for ULA, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Ten some-more Atlas and Delta rockets are approaching to launch this year, including 7 some-more missions for U.S. troops and inhabitant confidence agencies, dual flights for NASA and one load run to a International Space Station for NASA executive Orbital ATK.

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