The US Air Force early warning satellite SBIRS GEO-2 (Space-Based Infrared System GEO-2) was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 2121 GMT on 19 March aboard an Atlas V 401 launch vehicle. The 4.8 ton satellite is the second in a series of satellites developed by Lockheed Martin and TRW (now Northrop Grumman) as a new generation early-warning designs looking for ballistic missile launches and explosions. The spacecraft which will be located in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) carries two telescopes with triple band IR detectors (scanning and staring) covering short wave and expanded mid-wave infra red as well as see-to-the-ground bands.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off 1 carrying the second Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-2 satellite for the U.S. Air Force. Courtesy: ULA