The Air Force and its industry partners have completed the final integrated system test of GEO-1, the first Space Based Infrared System satellite, according to prime contractor Lockheed Martin. This is an important step in preparing the spacecraft for its delivery to Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., for its projected placement into orbit next spring, said Lockheed officials in a release. “[T]he entire government-industry team completed a disciplined and thorough test that represents a major program milestone on the path to mission success,” said Jeff Smith, Lockheed’s SBIRS vice president. The test was designed to verify the satellite’s performance and functionality. Prior to its delivery, GEO-1 must still undergo final space-to-ground interface system testing, final spacecraft component installations, and a final factory confidence test. Lockheed expects to complete qualification of the satellite’s flight software early next year.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.