WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin announced Dec. 2 it has completed production of the fifth satellite of the Space Based Infrared System constellation. The geosynchronous satellite known as SBIRS GEO-5 is projected to launch in 2021 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.
Four geosynchronous SBIRS satellites are on orbit today. The billion-dollar spacecraft are equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors that can detect missile launches anywhere in the world.
SBIRS GEO-1 launched May 7, 2011; GEO-2 March 19, 2013; GEO-3 Jan. 20, 2017 and GEO-4 Jan. 19, 2018.
“In 2019 alone SBIRS detected nearly one thousand missile launches, which is about a two-fold increase in two years,” said Tom McCormick, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for overhead persistent infrared systems.
Lockheed Martin said SBIRS GEO-5 is the first military satellite that uses a new bus developed by the company, the LM 2100. SBIRS GEO-6, launching in 2022, is also being built on that bus.
The LM 2100 bus also is the baseline for three missile-warning satellites Lockheed Martin is developing as future replacements for SBIRS. The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next Gen OPIR) Block 0 GEO satellites are expected to launch starting in 2025.