45th Space Wing Launches First SBIRS GEO Satellite
By , 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 13, 2011
CAPE CANAVERAL AFS, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle at 2:10 p.m. Saturday from Space Complex 41.
The Atlas V rocket carried into orbit the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-1 satellite. This SBIRS GEO launch begins the replacement of the Defense Support Program (DSP) constellation, which has been in operations since 1960.
SBIRS will provide critical functions for protecting the United States and its allies by supporting four mission areas: Missile Warning (MW), Missile Defense (MD), Battlespace Awareness (BA), and Technical Intelligence (TI).
Gen. William Shelton, Air Force Space Command commander, highlighted this launch was the culmination of many years of hard work and a tremendous team effort.
"Last year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of DSP. Today, we launched the next generation missile warning capability," said General Shelton. "It¹s taken a lot of hard work by the government-industry team and we couldn¹t be more proud. We look forward to this satellite providing superb capabilities for many years to come."
Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson, commander, 45th Space Wing, said the entire 45th Space Wing team was also pleased to be a part of this milestone launch.
"The teamwork across the Air Force Space Command made this launch a success and is another example of how our Air Force delivers assured space launch, range and combat capabilities for the nation," said General Wilson. "On a personal note, it is tremendously gratifying to be involved in the fielding of this next-generation SBIRS capability since my father was involved in the operational standup of the original DSP capability in the early 1970s while he was on active duty."