Lockheed Martin announced Monday that GEO-1, the Air Force’s first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous orbit satellite, has arrived at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., in preparation for its scheduled launch in early May. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will carry the sophisticated early warning satellite into space. “GEO-1 delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station represents the program’s most significant milestone to date and I am proud of the entire SBIRS team dedicated to delivering this cutting-edge missile warning spacecraft,” said Jeff Smith, Lockheed’s SBIRS program director. “GEO-1 will play a vital role in our national security space architecture, and we look forward to getting this satellite on orbit,” added Col. Roger Teague, who heads the Air Force’s infrared space systems directorate. An Air Force C-5 transport flew the satellite from Sunnyvale, Calif., site of Lockheed’s SBIRS production facility, to Florida. (See also Los Angeles release)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.