The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center recently awarded United Launch Alliance a contract modification to perform the launch services for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-3 (AEHF-3) satellite aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. The anticipated launch period is spring or summer 2012 and the launch will occure from Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The AEHF-3 mission will be the third installment for the AEHF system. AEHF will provide 10 times greater capacity and channel data rates five times higher than that of the existing Milstar II communications satellites. These higher data rates will permit transmission of tactical military communications such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data. This mission will be launched by an Atlas V (531) configuration using three Aerojet solid rocket motors, a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL10A upper stage engine, a five-meter diameter upper stage and composite payload fairing. ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Alabama, Harlingen, Texas, San Diego, California, and Denver, Colorado. Launch operations are located at CCAFS, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.