ULA’s first launch of the year will be SBIRS GEO-3

by

WASHINGTON – United Launch Alliance announced their first launch of the year will take place Jan. 19.

United Launch Alliance announced that their first launch in 2017 will be the Air Force's SBIRS GEO-3, a missile-warning satellite finally launching after a three month delay. Credit: U.S. Air Force
ULA’s first launch of 2017 will be the Air Force’s SBIRS GEO-3, a missile-warning satellite launching after a three-month delay. Credit: U.S. Air Force

The launch provider will send up the Air Force’s missile-warning Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-3. That satellite was originally scheduled to launch Oct. 3, but was delayed when builder Lockheed Martin discovered they had an issue on an unrelated satellite with an engine component that was also used aboard SBIRS.

A review and investigation by the Air Force discovered no issues with SBIRS GEO-3’s engine, so the satellite was cleared for fueling and scheduled for the January launch.

According to ULA, SBIRS GEO-3 will launch aboard an Atlas 5-401 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It’s scheduled for an evening lift off, with a 40-minute launch window that opens at 7:46 pm EST.

SBIRS GEO Flight-3 will be the next element of the Air Force’s missile-warning constellation designed to replace the aging Defense Support Program satellites. The first two satellites in the $19 billion Lockheed Martin-built constellation launched in 2011 and 2013.

The constellation is currently controlled from the SBIRS Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.