The U.S. Air Force's upcoming fifth and sixth satellites in its missile warning constellation will have a new satellite bus. CREDIT: Lockheed Martin.

WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, California, has received a $62.9 million contract modification from the Air Force to help develop the ground station for U.S. missile warning satellites, according to a Nov. 10 announcement from the Pentagon.

The work is part of what is known as increment 2 for the Space Based Infrared System Survivable Endurable Evolution, which processes data from the legacy Defense Support Program and SBIRS missile warning satellites. Upgrades performed under the contract also will allow SBIRS mobile ground terminal to perform some command functions.


Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the SBIRS program. The first two dedicated SBIRS satellites are on orbit. The third, known as GEO-3, is currently undergoing vacuum testing and is expected to be delivered in 2015. The fourth satellite is expected to launch in summer 2016 and the fifth and sixth satellites are under full production contracts.

Work is expected to be completed by January 2018.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.