Still Ticking

Lockheed Martin has announced that one of the Defense Satellite Communications System satellites that it built for the Air Force has surpassed its 10-year design life on orbit and is still functioning. This satellite, designated B8, was placed in orbit in January 2000. It is one of the 14 DSCS III spacecraft built and is the first of four in this group featuring upgrades that give them a 200-percent increase in communication capacity over original DSCS III spacecraft, according to the company. “The DSCS III constellation has provided the Department of Defense with its core communications capability for over two decades and will continue to make a significant contribution to our national security well into the future,” said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed’s general manager of Global Communications Systems. Boeing-built Wideband Global Satcom satellites, three of which are already on orbit, will eventually phase out the DSCS constellation.