Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Atlas V Rocket Launches New Missile-Warning Satellite for US Air Force

Atlas V Rocket Launches New Missile-Warning Satellite for US Air Force

United Launch Alliance is scheduled to launch a rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Thursday evening for the United States Air Force.

The mission will loft the Air Force's fourth Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, satellite bound for geosynchronous orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator. Signal acquisition was confirmed approximately 37 minutes after the satellite's 7:48 p.m. EST launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. The satellites track missile launches from orbit.

The SBIRS GEO Flight 4 spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, will join three similar satellites launched on Atlas 5 missions in 2011, 2013 and 2017.

Kelly Bazzle is the Digital Executive Producer at ABC Action News. So far, there's a 90 percent chance of favorable weather. The sensors collect data for use by the US military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.

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Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.

It's also the 75th Atlas V launch since the rocket's inaugural flight in 2002.

Check the ULA website for updated information on the launch or follow it on Twitter.

The Air Force's SBIRS includes a combination of satellites in GEO orbit and hosted payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO).

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