SBIRS GEO-4 satellite in orbit
NamesSBIRS GEO-4 (SV-3)
Space-Based Infrared System GEOstationary-4 [1]
Mission typeInfrared early warning
OperatorUnited States Air Force / United States Space Force
COSPAR ID2018-009A
SATCAT no.43162
Mission duration12 years (planned)
3 years, 8 months and 29 days (in progress)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSBIRS GEO-4
Spacecraft typeSBIRS GEO
ManufacturerLockheed Martin Space
Launch mass4,500 kg (9,900 lb)
Dimensions15 m x 6.7 m x 6.1 m
Start of mission
Launch date20 January 2018, 00:48 UTC[2]
RocketAtlas V 411 (AV-076)
Launch siteCape Canaveral (CCAFS),
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance (ULA)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeostationary orbit
2 SBIRS infrared sensors

USA-282, also known as SBIRS GEO-4,[3][1] is an United States military satellite and part of the Space-Based Infrared System.


The SBIRS program was designed to provide a seamless operational transition from DSP to SBIRS and meet jointly-defined requirements of the defense and intelligence communities in support of the missile early warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence mission areas.[4]

The SBIRS satellites are a replacement for the Defense Support Program (DSP) early warning system. They are intended to detect ballistic missile launches, as well as various other events in the infrared spectrum, including nuclear explosions, aircraft flights, space object entries and reentries, wildfires and spacecraft launches.

Satellite description

SBIRS GEO-4 was manufactured by Lockheed Martin Space, at production facility in Sunnyvale, California, and is built upon the A2100M satellite bus. The Atlas V launch vehicle used for SBIRS GEO-4 flew with a strap-on booster, a different configuration from the previous three SBIRS GEO launches. This was done as part of a space debris mitigation effort, to allow the Centaur upper stage to preserve sufficient fuel for a deorbit burn.[5]


SBIRS GEO-4 was the third geostationary SBIRS satellite to be built, Satellite Vehicle 3 (SV-3). Construction of the satellite was completed before it was required to launch, so the spacecraft was placed into storage. The U.S. Air Force later opted to launch Satellite Vehicle 4 (SV-4) first as SBIRS GEO-3, saving the cost of putting the newly-completed SV-4 into storage and additional testing that would be needed upon taking it back out.[3]

The Atlas V, with the tail number AV-076, flew in its 411 configuration. This Atlas V configuration differs from the 401 version used for the previous three SBIRS GEO launches – which did not use any solid rocket booster (SRB). The change of configuration has ostensibly been made to ensure Centaur can be deorbited after satellite separation, helping to mitigate space debris. On previous SBIRS GEO launches, Centaur has remained in a disposal orbit, close to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), at the end of its mission.[3]

It was launched on 20 January 2018 from Cape Canaveral (CCAFS), atop an Atlas V 411 launch vehicle.


The U.S. Air Force announced the satellite was operating as expected and had established initial communications with it.[5]


  1. ^ a b "SBIRS GEO-1, -2, -3, -4". Gunter's Space Page. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  2. ^ "U.S. military satellite launched to fortify against missile attacks". Spaceflight Now. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Atlas V launches with SBIRS GEO-4". 19 January 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Fact Sheets: Space Based Infrared System". USSF. October 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b "Air Force missile-warning command center makes contact with new SBIRS satellite". SpaceNews. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2021.