First SBIRS satellite with new flight software completes key test

SUNNYVALE, Calif., 2 Feb. 2009. The first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO-1) satellite, built by a Lockheed Martin team for the U.S. Air Force, successfully completed a major test utilizing new flight software.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., 2 Feb. 2009. The first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO-1) satellite, built by a Lockheed Martin team for the U.S. Air Force, successfully completed a major test utilizing new flight software.

The new software will enable reliable spacecraft command and control operations, Lockheed Martin officials say. Lockheed Martin's SBIRS flight software architecture is designed to enable robust command and data handling, fault management and safe-hold capabilities on the GEO satellite system.

The SBIRS program is designed to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence, and battlespace awareness.

The successful test of the GEO-1 spacecraft, known as Baseline Integrated System Test (BIST), was conducted last month at Lockheed Martin's Space Systems facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif. The test characterized the performance of the integrated satellite and established a performance baseline prior to entering thermal vacuum testing.

"This achievement is another example of our effective collaboration and joint commitment to successful execution of this critical national system," says Col Roger Teague, the U.S. Air Force's SBIRS Wing Commander. "The team executed a smooth and efficient test, giving us high confidence that we are ready to enter thermal vacuum testing, one of our most critical program milestones."

"The fully-integrated GEO-1 satellite utilizing our new flight software architecture performed with outstanding results," says Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin's SBIRS vice president. "We look forward to proceeding with thermal vacuum testing and delivering the first-of-its-kind data from this spacecraft to the warfighter."

The new flight software used during BIST contains applications that control space vehicle electrical power, temperature, attitude, and navigation. It also features a robust fault management system, which responds when an anomaly is detected during on-orbit operations, putting the satellite into a safe state while ground operators analyze the situation and take corrective action.

Delivery of the final flight software block is planned for February to support thermal vacuum testing which will validate spacecraft performance at temperature extremes greater than those expected during on-orbit operations. The spacecraft is planned for delivery to the Air Force in fiscal year 2010 in preparation for launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.

The SBIRS team is led by the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Azusa, Calif., as the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.

Lockheed Martin's current SBIRS contract includes the two HEO payloads now on-orbit, two GEO satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. The program is in the early stages of adding additional GEO spacecraft and HEO payloads to the planned constellation.

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