First U.S. Air Force Milstar II Satellite Begins On-Orbit Testing
SUNNYVALE, CA, 29-MAR-01 -- A combined MILSATCOM Joint Program Office/Lockheed Martin team has begun on-orbit testing of the first U.S. Air Force Milstar II communications satellite following the successful Feb. 27 launch and activation of critical spacecraft systems. Over the next 90 days, the Milstar team will test the Low Data Rate (LDR) payload, built by TRW Space and Electronics Group of Redondo Beach, Calif. and the new Medium Data Rate (MDR) payload, built by Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) of El Segundo, Calif. using the Army Secure Mobile Anti-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T), Navy EHF Shipborne Platform (NESP), and Air Force Command Post terminals. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for Milstar, responsible for the development of the space and ground segments and the overall integration of the system including final assembly and test of the spacecraft at its Sunnyvale, Calif. facilities.
The Milstar II National Team should be very proud of this significant milestone in the mission, said Albert Smith, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. This system provides a major increase in communications capability for the military with the MDR payload.
Shortly after launch aboard a Lockheed Martin Titan IV/Centaur from Cape Canaveral, the satellite's solar arrays and antennas were all successfully deployed. The first point-to-point communications using the new MDR payload occurred on March 12 followed shortly thereafter by the first-ever video teleconference (VTC) using two Army SMART-T terminals communicating over the MDR payload on Milstar F-4. The VTC link was between Fort Monmouth, N.J., and a Raytheon facility at Sudbury, Mass. The video and audio quality were excellent said Henry Jehan, Jr., project manager for the Army SMART-T terminal program.
BSS would like to congratulate the Milstar team for a job well done, said Randy Brinkley, president of Boeing Satellite Systems. The MDR payload has the capability to help warfighters communicate by sending real-time voice, video and data to military personnel in the field. It also has the ability to sort incoming data and route it to the proper downlinks to then establish networks and provide bandwidth on demand.
The LDR payload which provides highly secure communications capability to the National Command Authorities and Military Services under any conflict environment completed initialization on March 6 and successfully established an LDR communications network on March 7 using terminals at Sudbury, Mass. and San Diego, Calif.
TRW is extremely pleased with the on-orbit performance of the LDR payload stated Tim Hannemann, executive vice president and general manager of TRW Space & Electronics Group. TRW has enjoyed an outstanding relationship with our industry partners on this very successful DoD program.
The same team of contractors that successfully developed and launched Milstar is leading a National Team to develop the Department of Defense's next generation of highly secure communications satellite known as the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system. As envisioned by the Pentagon, the fully operational Advanced EHF constellation will consist of four crosslinked satellites providing coverage of the Earth from 65 degrees north latitude to 65 degrees south. The fifth satellite built could be used as a spare or launched to provide additional capability to the envisioned constellation. These satellites will provide more secure data throughput capability and coverage flexibility to regional and global military operations than ever before and will be also be backward compatible with the Milstar I and II system.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include space launch and ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.