Satnews Daily
December 18th, 2011

U.S.A.F.... On Orbit + On Track (Satellite)

[SatNews] The U.S. Air Force’s first Advanced Extremely High Frequency military communications satellite.... successfully progressing through the initial phases of on-orbit testing. This test campaign includes a period of single-satellite testing followed by testing with the operational Milstar constellation.  Conclusion of these activities will enable SMC to transfer satellite command authority to 14th Air Force in early 2012.

As part of this effort, communication terminals from the Army, Navy and Air Force are exercising the communication and control features of this new system and verifying expected performance.  Intersegment testing is being led by the Space and Missile Systems Center MILSATCOM Systems Directorate at L.A.F.B., with participation from 14th Air Force, the 50th Space Wing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, The Aerospace Corporation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Lincoln Laboratory and representatives from terminal operations and development communities. Successful testing to date has demonstrated use of the new higher data rate introduced by AEHF, as well as backward compatibility with Milstar’s low data rate and medium data rate capabilities.  This will allow AEHF to operate with both older, Milstar-compatible terminals as well as the latest generation of terminals developed to support today’s national missions.  This testing also ensures the recently deployed ground systems for satellite command & control and mission planning work as anticipated with the new satellite.

“Testing to date has provided high confidence in the satellite’s design and performance.  This gives us important assurances prior to launching AEHF-2 in April 2012,” said Dave Madden, director of SMC's MILSATCOM Systems Directorate. John Morris, Chief Engineer of the Government’s AEHF Program Office and director of intersegment test activities, added, “The entire team, across Service lines and Industry, is performing exceptionally well in executing a very complicated test plan, with lots of tightly coupled and highly integrated

AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets for the U.S. and international partners. The AEHF System is the follow-on to the Milstar system augmenting, improving and expanding the MILSATCOM architecture. AEHF is developed by SMC’s MILSATCOM Systems Directorate. The MILSATCOM Systems Directorate plans, acquires and sustains space-based global communications in support of the president, secretary of defense and combat forces. The MILSATCOM enterprise consists of satellites, terminals and control stations and provides communications for more than 16,000 air, land and sea platforms.