The fourth missile warning satellite thatÂ Lockheed Martin built for the U.S. Air Force sent its initial images back to Earth as part of the â€œfirst lightâ€ milestone.
LockheedÂ said WednesdayÂ theÂ Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Flight-4 satellite switched on its sensors in February during the vehicle checkout phase as part of the milestone.
“With the launch of this satellite, SBIRS can now provide global coverage, with better-than-specified sensor pointing accuracy and the ability to detect even more targets than anticipated,â€ said Tom McCormick, vice president of Lockheedâ€™s overhead persistent infrared systems mission area.
SBIRS GEO Flight-4 is the newest satellite of the service branchâ€™s SBIRS constellation that works to detect missile launches, build up situational awareness, broaden technical intelligence collection and support ballistic missile defense efforts.
Lockheed received a potential $1.86 billion contractÂ in 2014Â to complete development work on the fifth and sixth SBIRS GEO satellites.