Air Force to expand mission of missile defense satellite
SBIRS satellite sensors can stare at wide geographic areas
- By Henry Kenyon
- Apr 13, 2011
The Air Force’s next generation missile warning satellite has a new mission, intelligence gathering, reports Dave Majumdar at Defense News.
Designed to detect missile launches, the sensors on the service’s Space Based Infrared Systems satellite are sensitive enough to detect a variety of other heat sources too faint for previous systems to pick up.
Because the spacecraft is designed to “stare” across a wide geographic area, it can provide Air Force analysts with many different types of data beyond its primary mission, ranging from real-time battlefield situational awareness to spotting forest fires.
Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.