The U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency program completed a major program milestone, Saturday, April 20, 2019, successfully delivering the AEHF-5 satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Prior to transport to CCAFS, AEHF-5 completed testing to include Baseline Integrated Systems Test, Acoustic/Post-Acoustic Deployment tests, Thermal Vacuum, Final Integrated Systems Test, and Factory Confidence Test. The delivery of AEHF-5 to Florida sets the path for final checkout of the space vehicle before launch. The satellite will be processed in the Astrotech Space Operations processing facility.
A combined government and contractor team is already executing the final ground activities including a Launch Base Confidence Test to verify satellite integrity after shipment and an intersegment test to verify communication compatibility from the satellite to the ground operations center. Following these activities, the satellite will be fueled and prepared for integration with a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. Launch is currently scheduled from Space Launch Complex 41 at CCAFS, June 27, 2019.
The satellite was transported from the Lockheed Martin satellite integration facility in Sunnyvale, California, via a C-5 Super Galaxy aircraft. The C-5 crew are from the 22nd Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California. The California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing provided security during the transport.
The AEHF constellation is designed to replace the Milstar satellite constellation. AEHF also provides protected satellite communications to our International Partners, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. AEHF will continue to provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets.
Brigadier General Steve Whitney, Program Executive Officer for Space Production Corps., said the AEHF constellation allows the National Security Council and Unified Combatant Commanders to control their tactical and strategic forces at all levels of conflict and supports the attainment of information superiority. The payload supports communication missions with increased coverage, capacity, and protections against electronic jamming which gives our warfighters the best advantage against the nation's adversaries.
Col. David Ashley, Strategic SATCOM Division Chief said there is great enthusiasm and excitement across their entire workforce. The safe transport of the AEHF satellite was paramount and the total government and contractor team worked tirelessly to ensure mission success.