Lift Off

May 16, 2011

Dear Members and Friends,

 

The first satellite of the next generation of the Defense Support Program (DSP) was launched into space at Cape Canaveral, Florida. This new satellite can detect and process a diverse variety of heat sources, including missile launches, defining and distinguishing the type of missile and where these missiles are heading in an extremely short period of time.

 

This satellite was launched into the atmosphere on an Atlas-V rocket over the Atlantic Ocean and into an equatorial low orbit, before staging to go to the higher specific geosynchronous stationary orbit 22,000 miles above the earth. This infrared tracking system, called the Spaced-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) GEO-1, has significantly more capability then the current DSP constellation that first went up in the early 1970s. These new satellites will be launched over the coming years to form a constellation adding to the existing DSPs providing extensive and enhanced coverage.

 

The United States Air Force and the 460th Air Wing, Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora Colorado will operate this new satellite. The 2nd Space Warning Squadron (2SWS) will oversee, manage, process and coordinate this new addition to the DSP constellation and their vital missile warning mission.

 

The DSP is a vital national security system that has not failed throughout critical crises over the past forty years, helping to prevent wars and nuclear terror. It is a system so unique, so original, that no other nation has anything like it. It is so important that our nation shares this information with those that are our friends. This system makes our world safe and will continue to do so into the future.

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