Atlas V Rocket

The U.S. Air Force has a brand new missile-tracking sentinel in orbit.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched the brand new missile-warning satellite tv for pc Friday night time (Jan. 19) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Liftoff occurred at 7:48 p.m. EDT (0048 GMT on Jan. 20) after a one-day delay so engineers may deal with a ground-based subject related to the rocket’s liquid-oxygen system.

The Atlas V booster and its Centaur higher stage lit up the Florida night time sky to launch the brand new navy satellite tv for pc mission, known as the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 4, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral. SBIRS GEO Flight Four is the fourth in a collection of Air Force missile-detection satellites designed to make use of superior scanners and infrared detectors to trace launches of ballistic missiles.

About 42 minutes after liftoff, the satellite tv for pc is anticipated to achieve an preliminary orbit that ranges from 100 miles (161 kilometers) at its closest level to Earth to 19,358 miles (31,154 km) at its farthest level, in keeping with a ULA mission description. The satellite tv for pc will ultimately transfer right into a geosynchronous orbit 22,236 miles (35,786 km) above Earth, permitting it to maintain watch over the identical area of the planet.

The $1.2 billion SBIRS GEO Flight Four satellite tv for pc follows the January 2017 launch of its predecessor, SBIRS GEO Flight 3. Two earlier satellites, SBIRS GEO Flights 1 and a pair of, have been operational in orbit since 2013.”SBIRS supplies our navy with well timed, dependable and correct missile warning and infrared surveillance data,” Tom McCormick, vice chairman of Lockheed Martin’s Overhead Persistent Infrared programs mission space, said in a Jan. 11 statement.

“We look ahead to including GEO Flight-Four’s capabilities to the primary line of protection in our nation’s missile protection technique,” McCormick stated within the assertion.

Friday night time’s launch marked the primary flight of an Atlas V rocket of 2018 and the second mission of the 12 months for United Launch Alliance, a three way partnership between the aerospace corporations Boeing and Lockheed Martin. A ULA Delta IV rocket launched the classified NROL-47 spy satellite on Jan. 12.

A look at the SBIRS GEO Flight 4 missile-warning satellite before it's packed for launch atop its United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
A take a look at the SBIRS GEO Flight Four missile-warning satellite tv for pc earlier than it is packed for launch atop its United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.