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News | March 28, 2023

Press Release: SBIRS GEO-6 Operational Acceptance

By SpOC Public Affairs

The Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit – Satellite-6 (SBIRS GEO-6) was formally transferred from Space Systems Command (SSC) to Space Operations Command (SpOC), March 24, 2023.

SBIRS GEO-6’s LM2100 Combat Bus™ is an enhanced space vehicle that provides even greater resiliency and cyber-hardening against growing threats, improved spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics, common components, and procedures to streamline manufacturing, as well as a flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites.

“SBIRS GEO-6 exceeded performance expectations during on-orbit testing,” said Col. Daniel Walter, Strategic Missile Warning Acquisition Delta commander, Space Sensing, Space Systems Command. “It was a very clean calibration campaign, allowing us to declare operational acceptance about 40 percent faster than our historic average testing times.”
Space Delta 4’s 2nd Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado, is now operating the satellite, and all systems are performing nominally.
The 2nd SWS operates SBIRS as part of their mission to defend and deliver trusted, persistent, space-based global missile warning and battlespace awareness in support of U.S. and allied forces.

“Our nation depends on SBIRS and the dedication of our Guardians, Airmen and civilians who support this vital mission, which helps ensure our safety and security every day,” said Col. Ethan Mattox, SpOC’s Missile Warning/Tracking Mission Area Team chief. “The space professionals at the 2nd Space Warning Squadron and Space Base Delta 4 are proud to continue SBIRS GEO-6 operations in support of warfighters across the globe. Many thanks to our SSC teammates and industry partners for enabling this smooth transition to operations.”    
“The operational acceptance of SBIRS GEO-6 marks the completion of the SBIRS GEO system, representing a pivotal moment in SSC’s history,” said Col. Brian Denaro, program executive officer, Space Sensing, Space Systems Command. “SBIRS is the result of many years of hard work and collaboration with industry partners to leverage their knowledge and resources to deliver critical capabilities to the warfighter and our allies.”

SBIRS GEO-6, built by Lockheed Martin, launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket August 4, 2022.

Upon separation from the Atlas V’s Centaur upper-stage, SBIRS GEO-6 reached its intended orbit and satellite operations personnel began checkout activities of its light shade, solar arrays, and antennas. Following these activities, the team tuned and calibrated the payload sensors and readied them for warfighter use. 

"The addition of SBIRS GEO-6 to the constellation ensures the viability of our missile warning constellation for years to come," said Maj. Matthew Blystone, program manager, SBIRS GEO-5/6, Strategic Missile Warning Acquisition Delta, Space Sensing, Space Systems Command.

The SBIRS GEO constellation works in concert with the Defense Support Program (DSP) constellation to provide missile warning capabilities by detecting missile launches, space liftoffs and nuclear detonations. The SBIRS constellation will augment and eventually replace the aging DSP constellation and is a direct upgrade to the current capabilities, providing enhanced support to the warfighter mission. 

About Space Systems Command
Space Systems Command is the U.S. Space Force’s field command responsible for acquiring and delivering resilient warfighting capabilities to protect our nation’s strategic advantage in and from space. SSC manages an $11 billion space acquisition budget for the Department of Defense and works in partnership with joint forces, industry, government agencies, academic and allied organizations to accelerate innovation and outpace emerging threats. Our actions today are making the world a better space for tomorrow.

About Space Operations Command
Space Operations Command generates, presents, and sustains combat-ready intelligence, cyber, space and combat support forces and serves as the USSF Service Component to U.S. Space Command. Delta 4 provides strategic and theater missile warning to the U.S. and international partners.

About Space Sensing
Space Sensing (SN) is the program executive office within Space Systems Command responsible for delivering persistent and resilient all-domain awareness, directly enabling the warfighter to deter, defend, and win. The directorate leads the acquisition, development, and sustainment of missile warning, tracking, and defense (MW/MT/MD), space-based environmental monitoring (SBEM), and other strategic and tactical sensing capabilities. SN is accelerating the pace of innovation through partnerships with the commercial space industry, traditional and non-traditional defense contractors, academia, and international partners.