The U.S. Air Force’s first Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) satellite was shipped from Colorado to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in preparation for its anticipated July 8 launch, according to a June 1 Boeing press release.
Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of Seal Beach, Calif., is the prime contractor for SBSS, which will be launched aboard a Minotaur 4 rocket to low Earth orbit to keep tabs on objects in much higher geostationary orbits. The satellite and its telescope were built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo.
The SBSS satellite was ready for launch last October but its Minotaur 4 rocket was not because of concerns about the rocket’s third stage
Following modifications, the Minotaur 4 rocket made its debut in April launching an alternative demonstration payload on a suborbital trajectory. The SBSS launch will be the first orbital launch for the Minotaur 4.
The Air Force has initiated a competition to build a follow-on SBSS, which will be identical to the first.