Space Operations Command takes control of Space-Based Infrared System – Space War

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Space Operations Command takes control of Space-Based Infrared System

by Clarence Oxford

Los Angeles CA (SPX) Apr 19, 2024

The United States Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) has successfully transitioned the control of the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Baseline Release (SBR 23-1) to the Space Operations Command after completing a successful trial period. This transfer to the Space Operations Center’s Missile Warning Mission Area Team marks a significant milestone in the project’s deployment.

“The successful operational acceptance of SBR 23-1 empowers the 2nd Space Warning Squadron (2 SWS) to continue their critical, no-fail mission of delivering global Space-Based Missile Warning to U.S. and allied forces effectively,” stated U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Robert Smith, director of operations at 2 SWS.

The SBR 23-1 release, also known as the Virtualized Processing Environment Release (ViPER), aims to ensure uninterrupted, secure operations at the SBIRS Mission Control Station and its backup Data Processing Subsystem System (DPSS). This modernization addresses urgent needs in system sustainment, technology obsolescence, and cybersecurity within the SBIRS ground system framework.

“Maintaining our critical mission systems in optimal operational condition is a key responsibility of the Space Sensing Product Support Delta,” explained Anita McCorvey, director of SSC Space Sensing Product Support Delta. “The ViPER initiative is a vital part of our modernization efforts.”

ViPER modernizes the SBIRS platform by integrating industry-standard hardware and infrastructure, thus enhancing system resilience and maintenance capabilities. It incorporates a Linux-based operating system running on virtual machines (VMs), facilitating a consistent and manageable cyber update process and supporting legacy applications to reduce migration costs.

“This modernization allows for quick capability enhancements in SBIRS’s architecture, adapting to evolving real-world demands and reinforcing our national defense,” McCorvey added.

The SBIRS constellation provides essential Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) data globally, offering near real-time, high-fidelity insights crucial for rapid threat response. OPIR technology has been integral to national defense strategies for over six decades and continues to be indispensable in modern warfare.

Lt. Col. Smith highlighted the strategic importance of the SBIRS in the current global security environment, noting, “It is vital for early warning, launch detection, and notifying key defense and intelligence entities of various aerial threats, including missile launches and nuclear detonations. The ViPER’s operational acceptance is crucial for maintaining readiness in the face of evolving global missile threats.”

The SBIRS’s role extends beyond just early warning; it is pivotal in battle space characterization during conflicts, providing reliable alerts on missile launches and helping military strategists understand infrared heat signatures essential for operational planning.

“As our adversaries advance their capabilities, it is imperative that we continually refine and upgrade our systems to ensure the U.S. Space Force maintains its edge as a premier space power,” concluded McCorvey.

SSC, as a key component of the U.S. Space Force, is dedicated to developing and deploying space capabilities that ensure the nation’s strategic advantage in space. With a significant budget and collaborations across various sectors, SSC is committed to outpacing global threats to secure a safer future in space.

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