Another Milstar Satellite Exceeds Life Expectancy

The first Milstar II military communications satellite has exceeded its expected 10-year design life, announced prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Milstar II Flight-4 has been operating in space since its launch on Feb. 27, 2001. It was the first of three Block II Milstar spacecraft to offer enhanced communications capabilities to the US military. The first two Milstar satellites, Block I spacecraft, have been working on orbit for more than 15 years each, already exceeding their design lives by five years. “The Milstar constellation has provided critical protected communications capabilities for our warfighters and will continue to make an important contribution to national security for many years to come,” said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed’s Global Communications Systems general manager. Lockheed-built Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites will replace the five Milstar spacecraft. AEHF-1 reached orbit last August, but a propulsion anomaly has delayed its operational debut until late 2011.