US Air Force to launch new missile-warning satellite Thursday night

James Marshall
January 19, 2018

This evening, an Atlas V rocket will launch another satellite for the USA military - one aimed at giving advanced warning of missile launches from space.

ULA said in a statement that the flight "was scrubbed today due to a ground issue associated with the booster liquid oxygen system".

The launch window will open at 7:52 p.m. ET.

SBIRSFlight-4 is part of the SBIRS system, a constellation of three-and soon to be four-infrared-detecting satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Thursday night (Jan. 18) carrying the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS). From this height, the SBIRS satellites also give information that helps with the USA missile defense systems and data about what kinds of launches are happening on the ground.

The first two satellites, SBIRS GEO Flights 1 and 2, have been operational since 2013. The fourth will give the SBIRS fleet global coverage, replacing missile detection capabilities now provided by older, previous-generation Defense Support Program satellites.

The next launch attempt is scheduled Friday evening, with the launch window opening at 7:48 p.m. Air Force weather officials are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather. "SBIRS is meant to replace the legacy Defense Support Program satellites that have been providing missile warning for worldwide missile launches since 1970".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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