U.S. Space Force Next Gen missile warning satellite program passes major design milestone


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Image credit: Lockheed Martin

The United States Space Force announced the next generation of missile warning satellites recently completed its Critical Design Review, a Space Force official confirmed Aug. 24.

According to a recent service news release, this CDR milestone, the culmination of 34 subsystem and payload reviews, locks the space vehicle technical baseline, a key step in validating satellite design maturity and readiness to proceed with flight-unit fabrication, assembly, system integration, and test.

“With this successful CDR, we remain on schedule to launch the first GEO satellite in 2025,” said Col. Brian Denaro, program executive officer for Space Development and director of SSC’s Space Development Corps which manages the Next Gen OPIR program. “As the backbone of our nation’s assured missile warning capability, we are leveraging streamlined acquisition authorities on the Next Gen OPIR program to prototype solutions rapidly, using available industry capabilities and mature technology, to ensure that we can deliver advanced capabilities to the warfighter at operationally relevant speeds.”

The Next Gen OPIR program will succeed the Space Based Infrared Systems program. Next Gen OPIR is designed provide a resilient space-based global missile warning capability against emerging missile and counter-space threats.


Image credit: Lockheed Martin

The Next Gen OPIR GEO space vehicles integrate a new OPIR sensor with an enhanced Lockheed Martin 2100 common satellite bus. Early integration demonstrations on engineering developmental units were conducted to support this CDR. These demonstrations indicate that critical satellite components will meet the requirements established by the Department of Defense.

The Next Gen OPIR Block 0 GEO System Critical Design Review is expected later this fall.

Space Systems Command, is a USSF field command and is responsible for developing and acquiring lethal and resilient space capabilities for warfighters by rapidly identifying, prototyping, fielding and sustaining innovative, space-based solutions to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy. SSC’s functions include developmental testing, production, launch, on-orbit checkout and maintenance of USSF space systems, as well as oversight of USSF science and technology activities.


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