Military Satellite Ready For Lift Off Tonight
By Space Coast Daily // March 19, 2013
Sensors Detect Incoming Missile Attacks
BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – A second sophisticated military surveillance satellite will be carried into orbit tonight if the U.S. Air Force is successfully able to launch an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Despite some clouds in the area and patchy areas of rain on the Florida peninsula, currently the countdown is on to launch the satellite in a window that opens at 5:21 and lasts until 6:01 p.m. Tuesday.
The Lockheed Martin GEO-2 is equipped with sensitive space-based infrared detection programmed to assist the military in identifying and locating missiles fired at the United States.
It has improved sensor payload capabilities, improved missile warnings and enhanced technical intelligence and awareness.
This is the second GEO-2 satellites to be launched into orbit of six scheduled under an agreement between Lockheed Martin and the Air Force.
The first GEO-2 was launched in 2011 and was able to deploy its instrumentation and sensory devices without problem.
The satellite was built at Lockheed Martin’s Boulder, Colo. facility and the company was recently given the OK to start production of the fifth and sixth GEO-system satellites.
Through constant scanning and monitoring, each GEO satellite gives the military the capability of characterizing event signatures globally and offering threat performance data to strategic and combat coordinators in the intelligence community.
The Atlas V rocket will separate from the GEO-2 about 43 minutes following liftoff about 22,300 miles above Earth.
Once the sensory system on board the satellite detects a target, it determines the flight trajectory and where a hostile missile will hit, giving military commanders the necessary alert to intercept the weapon.
The GEO-2 satellite will expedite the time-critical sequence in an incoming missile attack by identifying faint missiles faster and allowing forces to engage sooner.
“We performed a disciplined integration and test campaign for GEO-2 and are now looking forward to successfully launching this spacecraft to ultimately help protect our nation and allies,” said Jeff Smith, Lockheed vice president for overhead persistent infrared mission area in a press release.
“We understand the important role it plays in our national security architecture and the entire team has worked tirelessly to prepare this satellite for a successful launch. The dedication and talent of this team is remarkable and we are keenly focused on delivering mission success for the warfighter.”