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Space team achieves key ground-segment milestones

1/15/2010 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- A joint Air Force and Lockheed Martin team developing the Space-Based Infrared System program, known as SBIRS, has achieved two key milestones: a testing milestone demonstrating the ground system is on track to support launch of the first SBIRS geosynchronous GEO-1 satellite in the constellation; and a maturity milestone moving the ground system into the next level of integration.

The testing milestone, known as the Combined Day-In-The-Life test, or CDITL, validated the functionality, performance and operability of the SBIRS GEO ground system for its planned operational use. The campaign included testing more than 1.5 million source lines of code and 133 ground segment requirements.

The new SBIRS ground system includes software and hardware necessary to perform activation, checkout and initial operations of the GEO-1 satellite after launch. SBIRS uses "Day-in-the-Life" test events to validate the integrated ground system following successful verification at the segment level.

"Our ground system performed very well," said Col.Winthrop Idle, commander of the SBIRS Ground Systems Group. "This test paves the way for the SBIRS program to provide a new, even more impressive level of information to the warfighter with the GEO system. The exceptional performance of the ground system is a true testament to the hard work and dedication put forth by our strong government and industry team."

The CDITL test integrated several geographically separated sites used for command and control, factory engineering support and direct interface to mission data users. The 17-day test included the use of high-fidelity spacecraft simulators to complete the launch and early-orbit test processes and products that will be used for the GEO-1 launch. Each site contributed significantly to the observed stability, robustness and operability of the SBIRS system.

"We are extremely pleased with the team's dedication and effort in delivering the cornerstone for a significantly enhanced early warning and intelligence capability for the warfighter," said Dave Sheridan, director of Lockheed Martin's SBIRS GEO-1 program. "SBIRS is now another step closer to fielding this critical capability and achieving total mission success for our customer."

Completion of the ground segments verification process and the CDITL led to the readiness milestone, known as the System Integration Readiness Review. This event, completed Jan. 12, officially moves the ground segment into the next level of integration. The Sunnyvale-based System Engineering, Integration and Test group formally accepted SBIRS' approved completed ground component delivered for system level integration to include multiple end-to-end test and rehearsal events with space vehicle simulators and the GEO-1 vehicle itself. This series of events are the final efforts leading to system operations readiness for launch of the GEO-1 space vehicle.

The first SBIRS GEO spacecraft recently completed thermal vacuum testing, the most comprehensive and the largest risk mitigation component of the integrated spacecraft environmental test program. The satellite is planned for delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., in late 2010 where it will then undergo final processing and preparation for launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.

SBIRS will deliver unprecedented, global and persistent infrared surveillance capabilities by providing early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.

The SBIRS team is led by representatives at Air Force Space Command and Space and Missile Systems Center's Space Based Infrared Systems Wing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. SBIRS' prime contractor is Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., is the payload integrator.

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems including six wings and three groups responsible for GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems, intercontinental ballistic missile systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

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