May 12, 2015 – Lockheed Martin has crossed the threshold from development to testing on the next-generation ground system, called Increment 2, for the Air Force’s Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) after successfully integrating significant software and hardware to the station. Once operational, Increment 2 will increase SBIRS’ overall ability to manage complex, emerging threats while reducing Air Force operations and maintenance costs.
The milestone was completed in March at the Mission Control Station (MCS) on Buckley Air Force Base, demonstrating Increment 2’s maturity as it enters certification testing.
“Increment 2 is on target to replace the legacy system by 2016 with significant performance improvements,” said David Sheridan, Lockheed Martin vice president and SBIRS program director. “Consolidating operations into a centralized SBIRS ground system will enable warfighters to more efficiently monitor worldwide threats and alert responders for immediate action.”
The legacy ground system operates from three different locations to manage the Defense Support Program (DSP), SBIRS Geosynchronous Orbit satellites and Highly Elliptical Orbit hosted sensor payloads. The Increment 2 ground station will consolidate those separate operations into one control station to command the global, persistent infrared surveillance provided by SBIRS.
Completing the development of SBIRS Increment 2 follows the successful live commanding of DSP and SBIRS satellites and payloads earlier this year. During a three-day test, the U.S. Air Force’s 460th Operations Group used Increment 2 to individually transmit and receive commands to and from each of the DSP and SBIRS assets on orbit from the MCS.
“An effective ground station has to reliably process and quickly deliver data,” said Vinny Sica, Lockheed Martin vice president of Space Ground Solutions. “After the Air Force’s commanding test we know that Increment 2 can effectively communicate with DSP and SBIRS satellites and payloads. The transition to testing brings the new, efficient ground station nearer to certified operation supporting national security.”