The space-based network detected nearly 200 missile launches in 2011 and an additional 1,700 “special infrared events,” Planeaux said.
“I believe with some of the activity we’re seeing around the world even this year, we’re seeing an increase in the number of global missile launches,” Planeaux said.
On Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to deploy 14 additional missile interceptors in Alaska to guard against increased threats from North Korea and Iran.
Data from the military’s space-based monitoring network feeds missile interceptors positioning and tracking information.
Geo1 has not yet been put into operational service due to a data communications issue, but work to certify it for real-time monitoring should be completed by Oct. 1, Planeaux said.
Geo2’s certification is expected to follow before the end of the year.
Two more satellites are being built for launch in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and a follow-on contract for an additional pair is expected to be awarded this year, Planeaux added.
Tuesday’s launch was the 69th for rocket manufacturer United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that was established in 2006.