U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin-led Team Celebrates Success of Milstar Program as Final Satellite is Readied for Shipment to Cape for January Launch
SUNNYVALE, CA, September 25th, 2002 -- In a ceremony heralding the success of the Defense Department's most technologically advanced telecommunications satellite program, Lockheed Martin today announced that final integration and testing is nearly complete and the company is preparing to ship the last Milstar satellite from its Sunnyvale, Calif. facilities to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. for a scheduled launch in January 2003. With over 600 of its employees as well as representatives from Boeing, TRW and the U.S. Air Force, the company today celebrated the success of the Milstar program which provides critical, secure links to our national leaders, air, land and sea forces around the globe.
"The Milstar team is very proud of this historic program milestone" said Leonard F. Kwiatkowski, executive vice president for programs at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale. "Milstar has provided the Department of Defense with substantial increases in communications capability and has made a significant contribution to our national security over the past eight years."
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, Missiles & Space Operations, is the Milstar team leader and prime contractor. Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) provides the Medium Data Rate (MDR) payload and crosslink subsystem, and TRW Space & Electronics provides the Low Data Rate (LDR) payload.
"The Milstar payloads' onboard digital processing gave U.S. armed forces the advantage of secure, bandwidth-on-demand space communications and flexible space-based network capabilities for the first time," said Timothy W. Hannemann, president and CEO of TRW Space & Electronics. "TRW is proud to have pioneered this capability, partnering with the Air Force and Lockheed Martin."
Of the four Milstar satellites currently on orbit, two are of the first-generation Block I design, launched in 1994 and 1995. In the post-Cold War era, the system graduated to a new Block II design and the Air Force transitioned to the Block II configuration with the successful launch of the first Milstar II satellite in Feb. 2001. The 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 II satellites carry the MDR payload, which can process data at speeds of 1.5 megabits per second. A second Milstar II satellite was launched in January of this year, providing the critical capability to connect satellites in a ring configuration encircling the earth. The last satellite, also a Milstar II, is the third to carry the MDR payload, and is schedule for launch in January 2003 aboard a Lockheed Martin-built Titan IVB/Centaur launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
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 final Milstar launch will significantly increase the Milstar constellation's capability to provide rapid, 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.