Watch ULA’s first launch of 2017: A global surveillance satellite for the Air Force

Centennial-based United Launch Alliance is scheduled to shoot a high priority global surveillance satellite into space.

CHLOE
The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite awaits launch from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Courtesy of ULA)

The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite awaits launch from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Courtesy of ULA)

Update: Centennial-based United Launch Alliance’s Thursday launch has been postponed until Friday, Jan. 20 due to a violation of Eastern Range safety criteria. The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite will launch at 5:42 p.m. MT Friday from Cape Canaveral.

Originally scheduled for an October 2016 launch, the SBIRS GEO Flight 3 satellite,a high priority global surveillance satellite, was postponed due to concerns over an engine component, produced by a Lockheed Martin supplier. The satellite was cleared for launch in early December.

The SBIRS, or Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite, is the third in a series of what ULA refers to as “one of the nation’s highest priority space programs.”

Using global infrared surveillance, the SBIRS will provide the Air Force with early missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battle space awareness.

The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 will join two other dedicated satellites and three hosted, or SBIRS-HEO, payloads which are in orbit aboard the National Reconnaissance Office’s signals intelligence spacecraft, according to NASA Spaceflight.

Thursday night’s launch window will open at 5:46 p.m. MT. Stream the launch on ULA’s website, or tune in right here:

United Launch Alliance is a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. The Centennial-based partnership formed in December 2006 to provide launch services to the U.S. government.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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