SBIRS GEO-4 to establish baseline space-based missile-warning capability

US Air Force to launch new missile-warning satellite Thursday night

The mission was set to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida with the fourth Space Based Infrared System GEO (SBIRS GEO 4) satellite with the window scheduled to open at 7:52 p.m. EST (00:52 GMT on Friday, Jan. 19).

About 42 minutes later, the rocket deployed a 10,000-pound addition to an Air Force constellation that serves as a "bell-ringer" warning of ballistic missile launches around the globe, potentially including nuclear threats. SBIRSFlight 4 is the fourth in a series of Air Force missile-detection satellites created to use advanced scanners and infrared detectors to track launches of ballistic missiles. But forecasters said the weather is 90 percent favorable for a launch. The blastoff and early portion of the flight will be streamed live.

This mission comes at a tense time between the U.S. and North Korea, and it is satellites like this one that will alert the U.S. Air Force of an impending attack.




Thursday's launch was delayed "due to a ground issue associated with the booster liquid oxygen system", ULA wrote on Twitter.

The SBIRS team is led by the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

The SBIRS payload is a system that provides data for missile defense, missile warnings, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence, according to Lockheed Martin.

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