Atlas Rocket Sends Missile-Detection Satellite to Space

An Atlas V rocket sent its military payload into orbit after a successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Friday night.

The launch had first been set for Thursday night, but hardware issues forced a 24-hour postponement. 

According to mission authorities, the payload ferried into space by the United Launch Alliance rocket will help with the threat detection end of the Defense Department.

The satellite, the Space-based Infrared System, or SBIRS GEO, is one of a new series of ballistic missile warning satellites, designed to detect launches around the globe and help authorities more swiftly determine the purpose of those launches.

This is the fourth in that series.

Though test launches tend to come with announcements from the countries carrying them out, it doesn't always happen that way.

Launch detection satellites such as this one play a critical role in early detection and threat assessment.

But, like other hardware, these satellites can either fail or be made obsolete by newer generations of technology.

The payload sent into space Friday night constitutes the deployment of an asset that is technologically superior.

The SBIRS GEO series is replacing the venerable DSP series of satellites, which have performed similar tasks over the years.


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