Spaceflight Insider

SBIRS completes readiness milestone

SBIRS satellite in orbit above Earth. Lockheed Martin photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

The Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center, along with the 460th Space Wing, announced last week that the Space Based Infrared System’s Block 10 Integrated Test and Evaluation (IT&E) Readiness Soak had been completed successfully.

“For the first time, live mission messages were sent from the Block 10 floor,” said Col. Mike Guetlein, SMC’s Remote Sensing System director. “This is another huge step toward Operational Acceptance.”

SBIRS logo USAF image posted on SpaceFlight Insider

Image Credit: USAF

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Air Force, the Soak event started on Jan. 5, 2016, and was conducted at the Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, by the 460th Operations Group. Lasting some two weeks, the test proved that the system was ready to support the start of IT&E.

When all was said and done, total command and control, or “C2”, had been demonstrated, along with mission management of the constellation of satellites that support the SBIRS fleet. More than just show that the system worked, this test also demonstrated that the U.S. Air Force crew was comfortable operating it.

This marked the last system test of the Block 10 Increment 2 before the U.S. Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center begins its formal evaluation.

“This is a full function test flight of our new ground system where our Airmen conduct full warning and detection functionality combined with intensive spacecraft command and control of all three of our spacecraft constellations,” added Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander. “This was our shakedown cruise.”

Col. Mike Jackson, 460th SW Operations Group commander, said the completion of the phase marked a “truly historic day for the overhead persistent infrared mission.”

SBIRS is managed by the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center located in California.


Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

I am a docent at the National Air & Space Museum at the Washington Mall and also an astrophilatelist. This is a great website. A lot of the pertinent information regarding spaceflight testing, new system, etc. Good reference for astrophilatelist.

⚠ Commenting Rules

Post Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *