A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched the new missile-warning satellite Friday night (Jan. 19) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
United Launch Alliance is set to deliver the fourth Space Based Infrared System GEO satellite for the U.S. Air Force.
The SBIRS satellites fly in geostationary orbits, and are equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors that collect data for use by the USA military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense and gather broader intelligence. From this height, the SBIRS satellites also give information that helps with the USA missile defense systems and data about what kinds of launches are happening on the ground. "And as threats evolve and change, the reliable and accurate detection of missile launches world-wide is critical to the defense and security of our nation".
The launch was previously scheduled for Thursday, but officials delayed it until Friday.
The Lockheed Martin-built satellite completes the system's baseline constellation, giving it global coverage.
It was the 75th flight for ULA's Atlas V rocket and the first from Cape Canaveral for the company this year.
On its 75th flight Atlas V will launch the fourth geostationary satellite in the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), which is a group of satellites created to detect and track missile launches on Earth.
The Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture is preparing another Atlas V for a March 1 liftoff from Cape Canaveral with a next-generation weather satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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