AEHF Arisen

Technicians activated the Advanced Extremely High Frequency military communications satellite, passing the first transmissions between Schriever AFB, Colo., and Lincoln Labs, Mass., last week. USAF and industry partners powered-up the satellite, successfully deploying its solar-panel array gimbal dishes, and jam-resistant antennas, Oct. 26-28. AEHF-1 will now enter four months of operational evaluation, before integration into the Milstar communication network and hand-over to 14th Air Force controllers. AEHF-1 is the first of its type to launch and its initial performance is under close scrutiny, especially given early malfunctions which delayed its arrival on orbit by 14 months. Officials are keen to identify and work out any bugs with the second satellite—SV-2, before its planned launch next April. “We should have completed sufficient testing to confidently make the decision” whether to launch SV-2 by month’s end, said Air Force Space and Missile Center satellite communications director Dave Madden. (Los Angeles release)