US Air Force Launches Advanced Missile Defense Satellite - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

US Air Force Launches Advanced Missile Defense Satellite

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force launched the second satellite in its next-generation missile warning constellation Tuesday (March 19) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The satellite, known as GEO-2, is the second dedicated satellite in geosynchronous orbit in the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) and was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

 "We are confident this satellite will meet or exceed expectations and play a pivotal role in our national security for years to come," Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) mission area, said in a press release. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif., is prime contractor on the multibillion-dollar program. Northrop Grumman is the payload manufacturer.  

"Today's successful launch of the GEO-2 satellite marks another milestone in the evolution of infrared surveillance from space," Stephen Toner, Northrop Grumman's vice president of the Military and Civil Space business area, said in a prepared statement Tuesday. "The team played a significant role ensuring that the sensors on GEO-1 are performing beyond specification, and we are confident that the GEO-2 sensors will exhibit similar performance."  

When fully deployed, the SBIRS system includes four dedicated satellites in geosynchronous orbit, infrared sensors hosted on classified satellites in highly elliptical orbits, and a network of ground stations to receive, process and distribute the data. SBIRS is the replacement for the Defense Support Program constellation of satellites that have provided missile warning since the early 1970s.

The newer satellites, featuring scanning sensors that cover large swaths of territory and staring sensors that focus on smaller areas of interest, are expected to significantly improve the Pentagon's missile detection and military-intelligence gathering capabilities. In particular, the SBIRS craft are expected to be much better than their predecessors in detecting launches of relatively short range missiles.

GEO-1 was launched in May 2011 and has troubled Air Force officials with an intermittent communications glitch. Air Force officials and Lockheed Martin executives have said they do not expect the problem to resurface in GEO-2. The third geosynchronous satellite, GEO-3, is expected to launch in 2015, with the fourth to follow about a year later.

Air Force officials expect to issue production contracts for the fifth and sixth dedicated satellites later this year.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:33 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:33:29 GMT
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
  • Candlelight vigil held for both husband and wife in murder-suicide

    Candlelight vigil held for both husband and wife in murder-suicide

    Friday, August 1 2014 2:22 AM EDT2014-08-01 06:22:44 GMT
    Chris and Sheena HendersonChris and Sheena Henderson
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Thursday night there was a candlelight vigil held for Chris and Sheena Henderson in Franklin Park. The vigil was overseen by a Spokane Police Chaplain. He said that today's vigil was about hope, help, healing, and ultimately, forgiveness.On July 8th, Spokane police say 37-year-old Chris Henderson went to the Deaconess Medical Center complex where his wife, 30-year-old Sheena Henderson, worked and shot her multiple times. He then fatally shot himself. No one else was hurt.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Thursday night there was a candlelight vigil held for Chris and Sheena Henderson in Franklin Park. The vigil was overseen by a Spokane Police Chaplain. He said that today's vigil was about hope, help, healing, and ultimately, forgiveness. >>INSIDE: Raw interview with Sheena Henderson's father
    >>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:36 AM EDT2014-07-27 14:36:04 GMT
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
  • Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:55 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:55:02 GMT
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
  • 3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:19:11 GMT
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:33 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:33:29 GMT
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
  • Two vehicle crash hospitalizes five, including one child

    Two vehicle crash hospitalizes five, including one child

    Friday, August 1 2014 5:33 AM EDT2014-08-01 09:33:07 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Right now Spokane Police and Washington State Patrol troopers are responding to a two-vehicle crash at East Trent and North Napa. Five people were injured in the crash, including one child. We do not know the extent of the injuries, but all five were taken to the hospital. Crews tell us that it appears a black SUV ran a red light and t-boned a black car. .>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Right now Spokane Police and Washington State Patrol troopers are responding to a two-vehicle crash at East Trent and North Napa. Five people were injured in the crash, including one child. We do not know the extent of the injuries, but all five were taken to the hospital. Crews tell us that it appears a black SUV ran a red light and t-boned a black car. .>>
  • Candlelight vigil held for both husband and wife in murder-suicide

    Candlelight vigil held for both husband and wife in murder-suicide

    Friday, August 1 2014 2:22 AM EDT2014-08-01 06:22:44 GMT
    Chris and Sheena HendersonChris and Sheena Henderson
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Thursday night there was a candlelight vigil held for Chris and Sheena Henderson in Franklin Park. The vigil was overseen by a Spokane Police Chaplain. He said that today's vigil was about hope, help, healing, and ultimately, forgiveness.On July 8th, Spokane police say 37-year-old Chris Henderson went to the Deaconess Medical Center complex where his wife, 30-year-old Sheena Henderson, worked and shot her multiple times. He then fatally shot himself. No one else was hurt.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Thursday night there was a candlelight vigil held for Chris and Sheena Henderson in Franklin Park. The vigil was overseen by a Spokane Police Chaplain. He said that today's vigil was about hope, help, healing, and ultimately, forgiveness. >>INSIDE: Raw interview with Sheena Henderson's father
    >>