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United Launch Alliance set to launch U.S. Space Force missile detection mission

Preparations are underway for United Launch Alliance to deliver on another national security-related launch for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC).

According to the rocket manufacturer, an Atlas V 421 rocket will launch the sixth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO 6) missile detection and early warning satellite. ULA’s Atlas V rocket will launch SBIRS GEO 6 into a performance optimized geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).

Liftoff is anticipated to occur from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., on Thursday at 5:08 a.m. CST. A livestream of the launch may be viewed on the company’s website.

The SBIRS spacecraft is equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared surveillance sensors to warn against missile threats posed by foreign adversaries. The technology is widely considered to be a top-of-the-line warning system against ballistic missile threats.

RELATED: United Launch Alliance delivers on classified U.S. Space Force missile-tracking mission

In a release, ULA advised that the infrared sensors allowed the U.S. military to detect missile launches, support ballistic missile defense, expand technical intelligence gathering and bolster situational awareness on the battlefield.

SBIRS GEO 6, built by aerospace and defense juggernaut Lockheed Martin, is an enhanced space vehicle providing resiliency and cyber-hardening against growing threats, as well as improved spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics.

ULA has performed more than 150 launches to date and holds an unblemished mission success rate.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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