Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SBIRS beats expectations

The first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous earth orbit satellite is exceeding performance requirements in a series of tests. SBIRS GEO 1 was launched by an Atlas V in May 2011 from Florida. Within two months it began sharing initial data with mission partners to determine performance. Sensors are detecting targets 25 percent dimmer than requirements, and payload pointing is nine times more precise than required. SBIRS provides early missile warning capability and improves other critical mission areas. "We've been extremely pleased with the performance of this first-of-its-kind spacecraft," said Col. James Planeaux, director of the Infrared Space Systems Directorate. (Sources: Spaceflight, 03/19/12, Space War, 03/21/12) Gulf Coast note: SBIRS is an A2100 satellite-based spacecraft, and work on the A2100 core's propulsion system, which positions the spacecraft in orbit, is done at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous