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Getting Technical: HEO-2, the second Space Based Infrared Systems sensor payload already on orbit, has been approved to provide technical intelligence in support of the US military and the intelligence community, the Air Force announced May 7. This operational acceptance came after the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency validated that HEO-2's sophisticated IR sensor provides accurate, timely, reliable, and unambiguous TI data for use in intelligence production. HEO-2 has resided on a classified intelligence satellite in highly elliptical orbit since 2008. US Strategic Command certified it for operations in mid-2009. Its predecessor, HEO-1, was cleared for operations in late 2008. The main mission of both payloads is to provide warning of ballistic missile launches worldwide. The Air Force is also building dedicated SBIRS satellites, the first of which, GEO-1, is scheduled for launch in early 2011. (Los Angeles report)