U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin AEHF Team Honored With Prestigious Aviation Week Laureate Award
SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 22, 2012 -- The U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]/Aerospace Corporation team has been selected as a winner of an Aviation Week Laureate Award for the successful development and execution of an innovative orbit-raising work-around plan that allowed the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite to reach its operational location at geosynchronous orbit.
The Laureate Awards recognize individuals and teams for extraordinary accomplishments. Their achievements embody the spirit of exploration, innovation, vision or any combination of these attributes that inspire others to strive for significant, broad-reaching progress in aviation and aerospace.
“This was teamwork at its best," said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems. “Together we created and executed an extremely challenging orbit-raising plan that allowed this vitally important satellite to reach its operational orbit and perform its critical communications mission for our nation.”
AEHF-1 was launched on Aug. 14, 2010 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, however an anomaly in its bi-propellant propulsion system thwarted the satellite's baseline orbit-raising plan. The AEHF team quickly developed a work-around plan enabling the spacecraft to reach its operational orbit and achieve full mission life and capability. This included using the satellite’s high-power Hall Thruster Propulsion System, along with other hydrazine thrusters on the satellite to provide the full orbit-raising function.
“The team's commitment to mission success was the foundation of this extraordinary program achievement,” said Dave Madden, director of the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at the Space & Missile Systems Center. “AEHF will usher in a new era of secure, protected, survivable global communications capabilities that will enable our warfighters to achieve their missions with greater speed and effectiveness.”
Since reaching geosynchronous orbit, the satellite has completed on-orbit testing that included establishing communications networks with EHF terminals at the Milstar data rates as well as at the new AEHF extended data rates. On-orbit testing began with AEHF-1 then progressed with AEHF-1 networked with the Milstar constellation. Completion of this key milestone paves the way for the satellite to be turned over to the 14th Air Force at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The AEHF team includes the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate 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, space and ground segments provider as well as system integrator, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider. The Aerospace Corporation is a nonprofit corporation that assists the military and intelligence communities in the acquisition of the nation's critical defense space assets.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 123,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.