U.S. Air Force Ready To Launch Lockheed Martin-built Milstar Satellite
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR STATION, Fla., January 10th, 2002 -- A U.S. Air Force Milstar II military communications satellite is ready for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., on Tuesday, Jan. 15, aboard a Titan IVB launch vehicle. The satellite and launch vehicle were built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company at its operations in Sunnyvale, Calif. and Denver, Colo. respectively. The satellite, designated Milstar II, is the Defense Department's most technologically advanced telecommunications satellite, and is the second to carry the Medium Data Rate (MDR) payload which can process data at speeds of 1.5 megabits per second. The Air Force transitioned to the Block II configuration with last year's successful launch of the first Milstar II satellite. The Milstar block II system offers a variety of enhanced communications features for the U.S. military, including added security through the use of specially designed antennas and faster data-rate transmissions for all users.
Milstar I satellites currently on-orbit are equipped with a UHF and Low Data Rate payload, which transmits information at rates between 75 and 2,400 bits per second. Lockheed Martin is under contract to provide one more Milstar II spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch later this year.
"U.S. forces depend on timely, responsive, secure communications," said Kevin Bilger, vice president of Military Space Programs for Lockheed Martin. "With the MDR payload, the Milstar team is providing a substantial increase in capabilities, allowing our military forces to communicate in a secure mode without betraying their locations and with capabilities very resistant to enemy jammers. "We are extremely proud to lead the Milstar team and look forward to achieving mission success on this critical event."
Milstar's "switchboard-in-space" concept allows communications links to be established rapidly and is a revolutionary departure from current communications systems. The spacecraft constellation provides protected, global communication links for the joint forces of the U.S. military and can transmit voice, data, and imagery, in addition to offering video teleconferencing capabilities. This Milstar launch will increase the Milstar constellation's capability to provide near-global coverage for the nation's strategic forces, Air Force's space warning assets and operationally deployed military forces.
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 Command Post Terminals.
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.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale Operations, is the prime contractor and lead systems integrator. Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) provides the Medium Data Rate payload and crosslink subsystem, and TRW Space & Electronics provides the Low Data Rate payload.
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.
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