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News > AF Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload Launches Successfully from French Guiana
AF Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload Launches Successfully from French Guiana

Posted 9/21/2011   Updated 9/21/2011 Email story   Print story


Release Number: 040911

9/21/2011 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- The U.S. Air Force Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload was successfully launched today at 2:38 p.m. PDT from the Guiana Space Center, Kourou, French Guiana. CHIRP, a hosted payload aboard a commercial communications satellite, was carried into a geosynchronous orbit by an Ariane V rocket.

"We overcame many challenges on the way to today's launch," said Col. Scott Beidleman, Space and Missile Systems Center's Development Planning director. "This effort is unique because the CHIRP launch marks not only the first-ever commercially hosted payload for the Air Force, but also the first ever wide field-of-view infrared staring payload in space. I commend the CHIRP government and contractor teams for their dedication to mission success."

CHIRP is a technology maturation and risk reduction experiment to collect real-world data, investigate spacecraft-sensor interactions and sensor behavior in the space environment, explore operational issues relevant to these sensors, and evaluate long-term suitability of commercially hosted payloads. CHIRP will first power on approximately 30 days after launch, with on-orbit experiments to follow.

CHIRP technology is applicable to missile warning/defense, technical intelligence, and battlespace awareness missions. The CHIRP team is a government-industry collaboration led by the Air Force's Space and Missile System Center Development Planning Directorate. CHIRP is a pathfinder for both WFOV IR staring technologies and commercially hosted payloads.

Media representatives can submit questions for response regarding this topic by sending an e-mail to smcpa.media@losangeles.af.mil.

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