A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 421 rocket launched the sixth Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS GEO 6) missile detection and early warning satellite for the U.S. Space Systems Command (SSC). US Space Force.
ULA’s Atlas V rocket launched SBIRS GEO 6 into a performance-optimized geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.
“Equipped with powerful scanning and observing infrared surveillance sensors to protect our nation 24/7, lSBIRS spacecraft continues to serve as spearhead for global missile warning as ballistic missile threats proliferate around the world,” ULA noted.
These infrared sensors, and others in a constellation of persistent airborne satellites, collect data that allows the US military to detect missile launchess, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence collection, and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.
Built by Lockheed Martin using their modernized LM 2100 Combat Busthe SBIRS GEO 6 is an upgraded spacecraft that provides even greater resiliency and cyber hardening against growing threats, as well as upgraded spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics.
After the first phase of flight, the Centaur upper stage performed an initial burn that achieved a parking orbit. A second firing then integrated the rocket and payload into an intermediate transfer orbit.
The launch countdown was produced under the direction of Ron McKee. The rocket ignited and underwent standard launch day tests while crews finished setting up the launch pad.
ULA Launch Director Steve Huff gave the go-ahead for the fueling. Tank filling operations were successful when 66,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen were placed in the rocket’s tanks.
Space Force Mission Director John Steinmeyer gave the authorization for the launch.