Space Force phasing out missile warning from GEO, will focus on lower orbits

September 23, 2022

Breaking Defense:

The Space Force is still going through with the first iteration of its multi-billion Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared System (Next-Gen OPIR) missile warning/tracking satellite program. But once those systems are launched, they’ll represent the last of their kind, with the service instead focusing on constellations in lower orbits, Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear said today.

“The path that the Space Force is marching towards is that we won’t rely on those in the future,” he told reporters at the annual Air and Space Forces Association conference near Washington, DC. “We’ll do away with the GEOs, and the big, exquisite expensive satellites.”

The Next-Gen OPIR program is a series of three geosynchronous orbit (GEO) sats being built by Lockheed Martin, and two satellites in highly elliptical polar orbits, being built by Northrop Grumman. The Pentagon at the moment plans to launch the first Next-Gen OPIR GEO satellite (called NGG, for “Next Generation Geosynchronous”) in 2025 or 2026, and to have the entire constellation on orbit by 2029.

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