Lockheed Martin technicians will begin assembling the GeoEye-2 Earth-imaging satellite at the company’s facility in Sunnydale, Calif., upon arrival of the satellite’s integrated propulsion system by month’s end, announced the company. “Completion of the propulsion system installation and the start of vehicle integration is a critical step forward in maintaining GeoEye-2’s schedule of on-orbit operations in 2013,” said Allen Anderson, Lockheed’s GeoEye-2 program director. Lockheed is building the satellite for GeoEye—a commercial satellite imagery provider headquartered in Herndon, Va.—under a fixed-price contract. Due to launch aboard an Atlas V booster next year, GeoEye-2 will move more quickly between assignments and collect imagery more rapidly than previous satellites using its modern high-resolution sensor, according to the companies. “It’s remarkable that we formalized our agreement with Lockheed Martin almost exactly one year ago,” said Bill Schuster, GeoEye chief operating officer. (See also GeoEye-2 Passes Milestone.)
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.