Lockheed Martin's Titan IV successfully launches next-generation military communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force
SUNNYVALE, CA, 27-FEB-01 -- A Titan IV B rocket roared into space today at 4:20 p.m. EST carrying a Milstar II military communications satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force. The launch vehicle and satellite were built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company at its operations in Denver, Colo., and Sunnyvale, Calif. Lockheed Martin is proud of the capability we have demonstrated today in providing a total system solution to our Air Force customer, exemplified by the excellent launch vehicle and satellite hardware built by our Astronautics and Missiles & Space operations with major contributions from our many industry partners, said Albert E. Smith, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.
The Milstar II satellite is the Defense Department's most technologically advanced telecommunications satellite. It is the first to carry the Medium Data Rate (MDR) payload. Built by Boeing Satellite Systems of El Segundo, Calif., it can process data at speeds of 1.5 megabits per second. TRW Space & Electronics Group of Redondo Beach, Calif., provides the Low Data Rate payload. This Milstar II spacecraft, which will join two Milstar I satellites already on orbit, provides added security through the use of specially designed antennas and faster data-rate transmissions for all users.
This was the first of five launches planned this year on the Titan IV B, the nation's most powerful expendable launch vehicle. Titan IV B with its Centaur upper stage is capable of boosting payloads weighing 47,800 pounds into low-Earth orbit or more than 12,700 pounds into geosynchronous orbit.
With this launch, Titan again proves its unrivaled capability in providing access to space for our nation's most critical payloads, said G. Thomas Marsh, president, Lockheed Martin Astronautics Operations. This launch marks the first of several planned for 2001, which promises to be one of the busiest years ever for our Titan team.
Today's Titan IV launch was the 31st overall including 21 from Cape Canaveral and 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Astronautics Operations in Denver, Colo., is under contract to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., to complete the launch of 39 vehicles. The contract extends through 2002. As prime contractor and systems integrator, the company builds the first and second stages and the Centaur upper stage used on this mission and provides overall program management and launch services.
Other members of the Titan IV contractor team and their responsibilities include: GenCorp Aerojet Propulsion Division, Sacramento, Calif., liquid rocket engines; Alliant Techsystems, Magna, Utah, solid rocket motor upgrade; The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, Calif., payload fairing; and Honeywell Space Systems, Clearwater, Fla., advanced guidance.
The Milstar spacecraft launched today is one of six that Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Operations is building for the U.S. Air Force as prime contractor. The Milstar team is led by the MILSATCOM Joint Program Office at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
Milstar's switchboard-in-space concept is a revolutionary departure from all current communications systems and is designed to provide adaptable, secure and survivable communications between fixed-site, mobile and hand-portable terminals. The system does this by utilizing five technologies not found in any previous military satellite communication system: 1) on-board signal processing, 2) on-board signal routing, 3) on-board resource control, 4) crossbanding (receiving a signal through one antenna at one frequency and processing and relaying it through a different antenna at a different frequency) and 5) satellite crosslinks (antennas that allow satellites to beam signals directly to each other without using ground station relays).
Milstar is used for communications among ships, submarines and land-based Naval stations via Navy Extremely High Frequency Satellite Communications Program terminals. The system provides communications networks to Army units via the Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminals mounted on vehicles, and to individual troops and small units from the Single Channel Anti-Jam Man- Portable terminals. For the Air Force, the Milstar system provides links for Air Force airborne command posts.