New-Generation Military Communications Satellite Ready For Delivery To Support Mid-2010 Launch
Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex ~ Lockheed Martin has completed all factory testing of the first satellite in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program and the spacecraft is ready for delivery to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., where it will be prepared for a mid-2010 liftoff aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.
The AEHF system is the successor to the five-satellite Milstar constellation and will provide significantly improved global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters serving U.S. national security.
“This sophisticated satellite was designed, built and tested by a joint government/industry team dedicated to providing secure, real-time connectivity to deployed forces around the globe,” said Col. Michael Sarchet, commander of the Protected Satellite Communications Group at the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. “We look forward to achieving mission success as we prepare to launch this critical national asset in a few months.”
A single AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently on-orbit. Individual user data rates can be up to five times higher than Milstar’s highest speed. The faster data rates will permit transmission of tactical military communications, such as high-quality real-time video and quick access to battlefield maps and targeting data.
“This achievement is direct testimony to the team’s commitment to operational excellence and mission success,” said Mike Davis, Lockheed Martin’s AEHF vice president. “We are very proud of our role in providing critical protected communications systems for the nation and have great confidence in the unprecedented new capabilities this vitally important satellite will provide to the warfighter.”
The second AEHF spacecraft (SV-2) is in the midst of its final performance test known as Final Integrated System Test which will verify all spacecraft interfaces, demonstrate full functionality and evaluate satellite performance. The third AEHF satellite, SV-3, is gearing up for acoustic testing, one of several critical environmental tests that validate the overall satellite design, quality of workmanship and survivability during space vehicle launching and on-orbit operations. SV-2 and SV-3 are on track for launch readiness in 2011.
The AEHF team is led by the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor and system manager, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider.
“Launching the first AEHF satellite will mark yet another revolution in assured military satellite communications by a government and industry team that has delivered unmatched capabilities for secure transmission of the highest priority military information,” according to Stuart Linsky, vice president of Satellite Communications for Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Aerospace Systems sector.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide three AEHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment. The program has begun advanced procurement of long-lead components for a fourth AEHF satellite.
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