SBIRS Software Fix Gets Nod

Lockheed Martin said it has successfully completed the review with the Air Force of the software fixes it is making to the first Space Based Infrared System satellite, designated GEO-1. “The successful review is direct testimony to the joint team’s hard work and commitment to achieving operational excellence on this critical national program,” Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin’s SBIRS vice president and GEO-1 program manager, said in the company’s statement April 8. The integrated design review validated the improved flight software that the company will include “to enable more robust command and data handling, fault management, and safe-hold capabilities” on the satellite, Lockheed Martin said. Engineers last year discovered that the then-software configuration, which was spread among different processors on the satellite, could impair the spacecraft’s operations, especially if it went into safe mode. Successful completion of the review for the new configuration clears the way for the final development and delivery of flight software blocks to support pre-launch spacecraft testing, including thermal vacuum testing, the company said. Lockheed Martin anticipates shipping the satellite in late 2009 to Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., for launch preparation. DOD’s most recent selected acquisition report, issued April 7, lists an $866 million cost increase in the SBIRS program and associates a portion of it with schedule slips caused by the flight software issue.