SBSS Satellite Begins Long-delayed Mission

by

A U.S. Air Force orbital-surveillance satellite officially began operations Aug. 17, nearly two years after its launch, following delays related to technical issues, the service announced Aug. 20.

The Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) Block 10 satellite was declared operational more than 13 months later than originally planned. The Air Force said in March that the milestone had been delayed because of data issues and problems with the satellite sensors.

The SBSS Block 10 satellite, designed to keep tabs on objects in the geostationary-orbit belt 36,000 kilometers above the equator, was launched in September 2010. Built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. as a major subcontractor, the satellite is part of an emerging space situational awareness architecture that also includes ground-based sensors.