Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center is reporting that preparations for the January 2018 launch of the fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite, commonly called GEO Flight-4, are underway at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Having verified satellite integrity after successful delivery from Sunnyvale, California, to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, the SBIRS team was approved to start fueling operations for GEO Flight-4.
Proper fueling is crucial to the mission team's efforts to use GEO Flight-4's satellite propulsion system to guide the satellite to its geosynchronous orbit following separation from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The GEO Flight-4 space vehicle will be loaded with sufficient fuel to reach its intended orbit and to maintain its proper orbit over its design life of twelve years.
The SBIRS constellation is designed to replace the legacy Defense Support Program satellite constellation. SBIRS will continue to provide significantly enhanced capabilities to support missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence missions.