The United States is slated to launch an advanced (GEO-5) missile warning satellite, SBIRS GEO-5, on May 17, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) said on Friday.
“The fifth Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO-5) satellite was hoisted atop the Atlas V this morning at the Vertical Integration Facility adjacent to the Space Launch Complex-41 pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force, Florida,” the ULA said in a press release.
“The combined rocket and payload, standing 194 feet (59 meters) tall, are scheduled for launch May 17 at 1:35 pm EDT.”
The GEO-5 satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, will enhance the global SBIRS constellation of surveillance to detect missile threats, the release said. It is equipped with powerful scanning and infrared sensors to spot and track missile launches, the release added.
The GEO-5 satellite features greater resiliency and cyber-hardening; enhanced spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics; common components and procedures to streamline manufacturing; and a flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernized sensor suites, according to Lockheed Martin.
The United States plans to launch a sixth SBIRS satellite, the GEO-6, but no date has been locked in yet. The SBIRS satellites launched earlier detected more than 1,000 missile launches in 2019 alone.