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Planning Ahead: The Air Force has awarded the United Launch Alliance the contract for the launch of the second space based infrared systems early warning satellite early next decade, the industry consortium announced May 15. The service has notionally planned launch of the satellite, designated GEO-2, aboard an Atlas V between December 2010 and March 2011 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. “United Launch Alliance is proud to continue our vital role in providing the latest technology for the warfighter with this second SBIRS GEO space vehicle launch,” said James Sponnick, ULA VP of Atlas programs. GEO-1, the first SBIRS satellite, is entering environmental testing in preparation for a late 2009 launch.