SBSS Follow-on Plans Take Shape

The Air Force would like to launch a follow-on Space Based Space Surveillance satellite in late 2014, according to Space and Missile System Center officials at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. The Air Force is perhaps just weeks away from the launch of the first SBSS satellite, a Block 10 spacecraft. From its orbital perch, it will monitor man-made and natural objects traveling through space, greatly enhancing the United States’ space situational awareness. The SBSS follow-on satellite will ensure “continuity of service” once the Block 10 spacecraft reaches the end of its service life, wrote SMC officials in a notice at the Federal Business Opportunities Web site in late July. The follow-on design will be based “on existing Block 10 requirements,” they stated. The contract award for this satellite is anticipated in early 2011. USAF is also retaining the option for a second SBSS follow-on vehicle.