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Lanciato il satellite "Sbirs GEO-1" ....


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Il primo esemplare di un satellite di nuovo tipo, destinato all'avvistamento precoce dei missili balistici, è stato lanciato da Cape Canaveral ....

 

Fonte: Ares

A Defense Technology Blog (AW&ST)

 

Sbirs Launches!

 

Posted by Amy Butler at 5/7/2011 1:17 PM CDT

 

 

The first of what Air Force officials hope will be many sighs of relief came today at 2:10 pm when an Atlas V 401 configuration launch vehicle lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, today carrying the first of a new generation of ballistic missile warning satellites.

 

Air Force Col. Roger Teague, who oversees the Space Based Infrared Program, says Sbirs GEO-1 costs roughly $1.3 billion, although billions of dollars went into developing the spacecraft and this future constellation of infrared (IR) warning sensors.

 

Vehicle separation is slated to take place 43 minutes after takeoff. At that point, the spacecraft will be at a 100 naut. mi. altitude heading for an apogee altitude of 19,323 naut. mi.

 

A series of six liquid apogee engine (LAE) burns are planned over nine days to reach a geosynchronous orbit slot 22,000 mil over the earth for initial checkout and operations, says Lt. Col. Ryan Umstattd, an Air Force Sbirs official.

 

At this point, the satellite will deploy its light shade (designed to protect the sensor payload), antennas and payload doors, he says.

 

Thirty-five days after launch, officials expect to turn the IR payloads (designed to collect in the short- and midwave IR bands, as well as in a "see to the ground" capability) on and begin transmitting raw data from the satellite. Full integrated tactical warning and attack assessment certification, allowing the satellite to officially tip missile defenses in the event of a threat, is expected within 18 months of launch.

 

Sbirs GEO-2 is likely to boost about one year after GEO-1.

 

SbirsGEO-LockMart.jpg

 

UPDATE: Vehicle separation executed! Sbirs on its way to GEO.

 

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Prime manovre per raggiungere l'orbita definitiva ....

 

Fonte: Ares

A Defense Technology Blog (AW&ST)

 

Sbirs Executes First LAE Burn

 

Posted by Amy Butler at 5/9/2011 11:30 AM CDT

 

 

The first Lockheed Martin Space-Based Infrared System satellite has executed its first liquid apogee engine burn en route to geosynchronous orbit, the second major hurdle for the system since launch May 7.

 

Col. Roger Teague, Sbirs program manager for the Air Force, says the operation went "flawlessly," and he "couldn't be happier" at satellite performance thus far.

 

Having covered Sbirs since 1999, this is the first time a colonel running the program has said that the couldn't be happier. Sbirs has been known for "eating its young," says Air Force and industry officials. Numerous colonels have led this high-profile effort only to retire after years of headaches working development problems. Teague is slated to get his first star and take over as second in command at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB.

 

However, execution of the LAE burn was a major step forward because officials have proven that the problem that caused a failure of the LAE onboard the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite last summer does not appear likely to hamper the Sbirs mission.

 

AEHF and Sbirs are both built on Lockheed Martin¹s A2100 satellite bus.

 

The AEHF LAE, a model BT-4, was made by the Japanese firm IHI. Though sourcing on the Sbirs LAE is different, from a firm in the United Kingdom, officials executed an exhaustive "exoneration" exercise last year to ensure that the missile warning satellite would not encounter a propulsion failure in orbit. Foreign object debris (FOD) in the fuel system were said to be the culprit of the AEHF LAE failure, not a problem with the engine itself.

 

Sbirs lifted off on an Atlas 401 configuration rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., at 2:10 pm May 7. Vehicle separation from the Centaur upper stage took place 43 min after launch and the satellite coasted until its first LAE burn. A second burn is slated for May 9.

 

A total of six burns are planned to increase the satellite¹s perigee and place it into geosynchronous orbit 22,000 mi. over Earth. Officials will then begin a series of commands to deploy Sbirs GEO-1's solar arrays, deployable light shade (designed to protect the infrared sensor payload from the sun) and antennas and open the payload doors.

 

The first infrared data is expected to flow from the satellite in early

June, officials say. After a period of testing and tuning the two onboard sensors one scanner and a maneuverable staring payload overhead infrared intelligence is expected in about six months, according to Lt. Col. Ryan Umstatt, a Sbirs program office official. Full integrated tactical warning and attack assessment for the ballistic missile warning mission, Sbirs' primary requirement, is expected within 18 months, though one program official says they expect to complete the painstaking work in about 16.5 months.

 

Meanwhile, AEHF-1 continues its slow route to GEO. After its LAE failure, officials in the Air Force, Lockheed Martin and the Aerospace Corporation devised a plan to use onboard Hall Current Thrusters to slowly raise perigee over the course of several months. Though the satellite will reach orbit late, the plan was crafted to preserve fuel and maintain its in-orbit life expectancy of 14 years.

 

Sbirs, however, lacks those Hall Current Thrusters, so an LAE problem could have been catastrophic had it occurred. AEHF is expected to reach GEO this summer and vehicle checkout should be complete by January 2012.

 

Word has it that Teague and Dave Madden, who oversees milsatcom programs for the Air Force, have a friendly bet as to which satellite will be declared operational first.

 

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