A thirdÂ Lockheed Martin-built missile warning satellite launchedÂ atop United Launch Alliance‘s Atlas VÂ evolved expendable launch vehicle Friday evening from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth OrbitÂ satellite is designed to provide battlespace awareness efforts of U.S. combatant commanders, intelligence organizations and allies globally, theÂ U.S. Air Force said Friday.
According to Lockheed, SBIRS GEO Flight 3 launchedÂ at 7:42 p.m. Eastern time and beganÂ to respond toÂ commands on the ground about 37 minutes later.
“With communications now established, our job begins to deliver SBIRS to its final orbit so we can complete deployments and operational testing in anticipation of the satellite’s formal acceptance by the Air Force,” saidÂ David Sheridan, vice president of Lockheed’s overhead persistent infrared systems mission area.
The company added the satelliteÂ will deploy antennas, light shade and solar arrays once itÂ reaches geosynchronous orbit nearly 22,000 miles above Earth.
SBIRS GEO Flight 3 is built to also deliver infrared data toÂ the Air Force’s Tools, Applications and Processing Lab in Boulder, Colorado.
Lockheed plans to conduct final assembly, integration and test of aÂ fourthÂ SBIRS satellite this year.