SAIC has delivered an infrared sensor for Air Force use that will be integrated into and hosted on the commercial SES-2 satellite. The SES-2 satellite is being built by Orbital Sciences and will provide commercial communications services.
The short and medium wave infrared sensor gets a lower-cost ride to space than a dedicated IR satellite and could be on orbit as early as around this time in 2011.
Called CHIRP (the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload), the sensor assembly will provide wide field-of-view persistent infrared capabilities.
When the sensor is on-orbit, it will have a secure, two-way communication channel to the Air Force through a standard commercial telecommunication transponder.