The US Air Force’s second advanced extremely high-frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite has completed environmental testing with the conclusion of the spacecraft’s acoustic testing.
The Lockheed built AEHF constellation will provide global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters and the National Command Authority at all levels of conflict including highly important information such as presidential conferencing.
During the acoustic test, the fully integrated space vehicle was subjected to the same acoustic levels expected during launch to validate the overall satellite design, launch survivability, on-orbit environment survivability and payload capability.
Following the tests, Lockheed and the payload supplier, Northrop will perform final integrated spacecraft and system tests to prepare the satellite for flight.
The AEHF system will succeed the present five-satellite Milstar constellation to improve tactical military communications, such as higher-quality real-time video and quicker access to battlefield maps and targeting data.
A single AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently on-orbit.
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Lockheed is currently under contract to build three AEHF satellites and the mission control segment to the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, at the Los Angeles Air Force Base.
The second AEHF will launch in 2011 aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle following the first AEHF satellite launch scheduled for 2010.