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Boeing a Step Closer in Completion of New Operational Sensor for U.S. Space Surveillance Network

The Boeing Company has successfully completed a series of Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system tests as part of the development of a new operational sensor for the U.S. Space Surveillance Network.

Tests of the SBSS system's visible sensor, payload electronics and high speed gimbal further validate that the enhanced capability of SBSS will be twice as fast, substantially more sensitive and 10 times more accurate than the capabilities currently on orbit, resulting in improved detection of threats to America's space assets.

"The visible sensor on the SBSS satellite will be used to provide critical information vital to the protection of U.S. military and civilian satellites," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Erickson, squadron commander for the SBSS, Space Superiority Systems Wing.

"The end result is that SBSS will significantly enhance the nation's space situational awareness," added U.S. Air Force Col. J.R. Jordan, group commander for the Space Situational Awareness, Space Superiority Systems Wing.

The recently completed SBSS milestones include recording the first image with a visible light sensor, powering up the spacecraft bus for the first time and the successful thermal vacuum testing of the visible sensor telescope.

"With the successful completion of these tests, we continue to meet the U.S. Air Force's requirements of producing a high-quality space situational awareness system," said Howard Chambers, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.

Boeing has overall responsibility for the SBSS system and is developing the SBSS ground segment while working with Ball Aerospace to develop the spacecraft and visible sensor. In 2006, Boeing completed a series of critical design reviews that included government and industry participants.

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