GEO-1, the Air Force’s first Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous orbit satellite, is certified to commence its dedicated operational utility evaluation and operational trial period, announced service space officials. The certification came on Sept. 27, according to the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Oct. 3 release. GEO-1, with its advanced infrared sensors, is designed to warn of missile launches and provide additional intelligence for purposes like battlespace awareness. As part of the evaluation, operators will inject live GEO scanner data, for the first time, into the US military’s actual operational networks, states the release. The trial period will culminate when US Strategic Command declares that GEO-1 and its associated ground processing elements are operationally proven and accepted. That milestone is expected later this fall, states the release. GEO-1 has been on orbit since May 2011. SBIRS satellites will replace legacy Defense Support Program early warning spacecraft.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.