The SBIRS (Space Based Infrared System) of the United State Air Force released its first images and had been sent to ground in what has been dubbed the “first light.”
First light was a big milestone of the GEO Flight-4 of SBIRS and delivered high definition and top quality images. With this new satellite being launched, SBIRS will be able to provide global coverage, with far better accuracy of sensor pointing and the ability to detect more targets than expected.
The first set of pictures were sent to Earth on February, this year after the spacecraft’s sensors got activated when there was a shakedown of the controllers with the satellite. The SBIRS GEO-4 was launched this year on January 19.
The construction of the SBIRS GEO satellites was done by Lockheed Martin, and it was designed to be a pre-warning system against the threat by missiles. The communication of the SBIRS GEO-4 and the 460th Space Wing of the United States Air Force began after about 30 minutes after the GEO-4 left the launch pad.
The SBIRS GEO 4 has utilized the liquid apogee engine, like its predecessors to place itself into the GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbit) at about 22,000 miles above the surface of the Earth.
Like its predecessors, SBIRS GEO 4 utilized its liquid apogee engine to place it into Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) at some 22,000 miles above Earth. The GEO 5 AND GEO 6 are the next two SBIRS space crafts that are prepping for flight, and both are about halfway through production. If everything goes as planned, these two space crafts will be launched at some point, next decade.
The main aim of these vehicles is to support ballistic missile defense, detect missile launches, and improve technical intelligence gathering and awareness on the battlefield. The first 3 satellites that were launched before in the same program to defend the constellation, SBIRS GEO -1, GEO -2, GEO -3 were sent in during 2011, 2012 and 2013 to orbit. The launch took place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket in Florida. The ride witnessed by the SBIRS GEO-4 was slightly a different one, launching on an AV-076, a 411 configuration of the most successful Atlas V.
More images can be expected from the SBRIS which will help in different space and Earth related technological areas in the future.