Defense

September 17, 2012

Air Force begins testing newest AEHF satellite

Tags:
Scott Prater
Schriever AFB, Colo.

Following a four-month journey, the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite reached geosynchronous orbit Aug. 27.

The event is significant to the 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., because nearly 100 squadron members are now heavily involved in testing the vehicle.

The Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles will continue to hold satellite control authority of AEHF-2 during the testing phase, then transfer satellite control authority to the 14th Air Force and 4th SOPS at a later date.

“During this testing phase, some capabilities require the use of AEHF-1, a 4th SOPS asset, hence the reason for the involvement of 4th SOPS personnel,” said Lt. Col. Alistair Funge, 4th SOPS director of operations. “Our engineering shop, led by Maj. Yingwai Chan, is involved in day-to-day testing, coordinating ground support system time with the 22nd Space Operations Squadron and keeping leadership informed of ongoing activities.”

First Lt. Peter Lusk explained that this testing is important not only for AEHF-2, but for the Milstar/AEHF constellation in general because of AEHF’s expanded communications capability and performance compared to legacy Milstar satellites.

“Advanced Extremely High Frequency-1 has been cross linked in the Milstar constellation since 2011; however, now that there is a second AEHF satellite, we can use the full capabilities of their cross links,” Lusk said.

As next generation communications satellites, AEHF vehicles hold eight times the capacity of Milstar vehicles.

The testing phase will present its own obstacles and challenges, but 1st Lt. Kathleen Giegler, 4th SOPS payload engineer, explained that doing so while the satellite is on orbit represents a vital step toward gaining operational acceptance.

“It’s almost impossible to test these types of satellites on the ground because of how they’ll be cross linked together and how they will interact in space,” Giegler said. “It promises to be a new experience for all involved. But one thing is certain, once AEHF-2 is fully operational, the survivable secure and jam resistant communications for the U.S. military and national leadership will have received a significant upgrade.”

While 4th SOPS crews work with their counterparts at SMC and contractor Lockheed Martin to test the vehicle, the teams also must integrate AEHF-2 into the Milstar/AEHF constellation.

“This transition process worked well with AEHF-1 and we expect it to be just as smooth with AEHF-2,” Funge said. “This way, 4th SOPS crews and engineering support staff will also get hands-on experience with AEHF-2 during these activities. Throughout the test period, 4th SOPS members will monitor the constellation using our in-band Advanced Satellite Mission Control Subsystem and Space-Ground Link System as well as perform routine and test related operations.”

Four satellites are currently planned to complete the AEHF constellation. The third AEHF satellite is tentatively scheduled for launch in 2013.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 2, 2014

News: Debris yields clues that pilot never ejected - When investigators were finally able to safely enter the crash site of an F-15C “Eagle” fighter jet on the afternoon of Aug. 27, they made a grim discovery that concluded more than 30 hours of searching – the pilot never managed to eject from the aircraft.  ...
 
 

News Briefs September 2, 2014

Pentagon: Iraq operations cost $560 million so far U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Aug. 29. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the average daily cost has been $7.5 million. He said it began at a much lower...
 
 

Unmanned aircraft partnership reaches major milestone

A team of research students and staff from Warsaw University of Technology have successfully demonstrated the first phase of flight test and integration of unmanned aircraft platforms with an autonomous mission control system. The demonstration marks a significant milestone in a partnership between the university and Lockheed Martin that began earlier this year. This is...
 

 

Raytheon delivers first Block 2 Rolling Airframe Missiles to US Navy

Raytheon delivered the first Block 2 variant of its Rolling Airframe Missile system to the U.S. Navy as part of the company’s 2012 Low Rate Initial Production contract. RAM Block 2 is a significant performance upgrade featuring enhanced kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver, and an improved control system. “As today’s threats continue to evolve,...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Two Vietnam War Soldiers, one from Civil War to receive Medal of Honor

U.S. Army graphic Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and former Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat will receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam. The White House announced Aug. 26 that Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. A...
 
 

Sparks fly as NASA pushes limits of 3-D printing technology

NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector – a highly complex part that...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>