Spaceflight Insider

Fueling operations for SBIRS GEO-4 mission begin

SBIRS GEO3 Flight 4 lift to MATS container

Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The flight of the fourth Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite is getting closer to its targeted January 2018 launch date.

Upon being delivered from Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale (California) location, the SBIRS GEO-4 satellite had its integrity verified and has been given the green light to begin undergoing fueling operations.

As noted on SpaceFlight 101, the rocket selected to send the SBIRS GEO-4 spacecraft to orbit is United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V 411 (AV-075).

SBIRS GEO-4 will be provided with enough fuel to provide its services throughout the course of its planned 12-year design life (and to reach geosynchronous orbit).

Designed to take over for the Defense Support Program satellite constellation, it is hoped that the SBIRS fleet of satellites will provide improved services in terms of missile warning and defense, battlefield awareness, as well as technical intelligence missions.


This update originally contained an image of the GPS III spacecraft. We have since replaced it with a more appropriate image and apologize for any confusion this might have caused. The correction took place on Dec. 22, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. EST



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.

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