Lockheed Martin says the first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO-1) spacecraft has completed a comprehensive Baseline Integrated System Test (BIST) and is now ready to begin environmental testing.

The GEO-1 satellite is designed to provide early warning of missile launches and simultaneously support other missions including missile defence, technical intelligence and battlespace characterisation.

With the completion of BIST, the team will integrate the satellite’s solar arrays, deployable light shade, and thermal blankets and then prepare for acoustic and pyroshock testing where the integrated space vehicle will be subjected to the maximum sound and vibration levels expected during launch into orbit.

The satellite is expected to launch in late 2009.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh