Update on AEHF Satellites

The $1.3 billion contract that the Air Force awarded last week to Lockheed Martin for production of the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite calls for this spacecraft to be available for launch in 2017, according to Air Force space acquisition officials. They also provided an update on the first three AEHF satellites: AEHF-1 is still in the midst of a lengthy process to raise it into its operational orbit after its Aug. 14 launch into space. AEHF-2 has completed production and is in storage until its scheduled launch in 2012. AEHF-3 is undergoing thermal vacuum testing. Its production is on track to conclude next year, they said. AEHF satellites will supplant the five-satellite Milstar constellation. They will provide 10 times greater communications capability than the Milstar spacecraft. (Los Angeles release)