SPACE BASED INFRARED SYSTEM|
Printable Fact Sheet
The Space-Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, will be a key part of North America's missile early warning and defense systems. SBIRS will provide critical functions for protecting the United States and its allies by supporting four mission areas: missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence.
The SBIRS constellation will consist of infrared sensor, or IR, payloads on host satellites in highly elliptical orbit, or HEO, and two IR sensors each on dedicated SBIRS satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit, or GEO. The HEO sensor detects the launch of Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles from the North Polar Region and can be tasked to perform other IR detection missions as well. The GEO scanning sensor performs the strategic missile warning mission, the global technical intelligence, as well as the initial phase of the strategic missile defense mission.
It provides a shorter revisit time and greater sensitivity than the Defense Support Program, or DSP, satellite sensor over its full field of view. The GEO staring sensor performs the theater missile warning and defense missions, the battlespace awareness mission, the technical intelligence mission in focus areas, and the final phase of the strategic missile defense mission. It provides step-stare or dedicated stare operations over smaller geographic regions than the scanning sensor.
Ground control and mission data analysis for the new SBIRS GEO satellites and HEO payloads will be performed by the 2nd Space Warning Squadron in the Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., as it currently conducts for the DSP satellites.
Ground control of the HEO sensors is currently performed by the 11th SWS in the Mission Control Station Backup at Schriever AFB, Colo. The ground architecture also consists of the Interim Mission Control Station Backup in Boulder, Colo., relay ground stations located around the world and a mobile ground system.
The SBIRS Survivable Endurable Evolution will replace the mobile ground system. The U.S. Army's in-theater Joint Tactical Ground Stations units, which currently receive and process DSP data, will be transitioned to receive and process SBIRS sensor data.
The Department of Defense recognized the need to replace the Defense Support Program system in a summer study completed in September 1994. SBIRS achieved Increment 1 Initial Operation Capability on Dec. 18, 2001 when the Mission Control Station consolidated command and control and data processing elements from legacy systems into a modern peacetime facility, processing all Air Force and other IR data in a fused manner.
The first HEO payload was operationally certified by U. S. Strategic Command Dec. 5, 2008, for use in the strategic and theater missile warning missions. It has also been certified by the National Geospatial Agency for use in the technical intelligence mission. The second HEO payload was operationally certified by USSTRATCOM Aug 7, 2009.
The first GEO satellite is expected to launch in calendar year 2011. SBIRS Increment 2 is the designation of the full deployment of the new SBIRS constellation of satellites and sensors, along with the new ground segment hardware and software. SBIRS is designed to perform these critical missions well into the 21st century
Primary mission: Missile defense and warning, technical intelligence, battlespace awareness
Contractor Team: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
Powerplant: GEO, Requires approximately 2,361 watts (working power at end of life);
HEO, Payload requires approximately 345 watts (maximum average)
Dimensions: GEO, 7 ft x 6.3 ft x 19.7 ft (stowed), 48.6 ft x 22.4 ft x 19.7 ft (deployed);
HEO: 6.8 feet x 3.9 feet x 2.9 feet (metric)
Weight: HEO, 536 pounds (243 kilograms)
Maximum Launch Weight: GEO, 10,656 pounds (4,833 kilograms)
On-orbit Weight: GEO, 5,603 pounds (2,547 kilograms)
Orbit Altitude: GEO, Approximately 22,300 miles (35,970 kilometers);
Date Deployed: GEO, First launch expected in calendar year 2011
Date Certified: HEO, Dec. 5, 2008
Latest Satellite Block: HEO payloads 3-4 and GEO satellites 3-4 on contract
GEO Satellite Unit Cost: $1,287.85* (average procurement unit cost as reported in the Defense Acquisition Executive Summary )
Initial Operational Capability: Dec. 18, 2001 (Increment 1)
Point of contact
Air Force Space Command, Public Affairs Office; 150 Vandenberg St., Suite 1105; Peterson AFB, CO 80914-4500; DSN 692-3731 or 719-554-3731.