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.


 
 

 
Army photograph

Composites key to tougher, lighter armaments

Army photograph XM-360 test firing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in 2007, is shown. The Army is on the cusp of revolutionizing materials that go into armament construction, making for stronger, lighter and more durable weapo...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Aviation...
 
 

AF Test Pilot School applications due in June

The 2015 Air Force Test Pilot School selection board will convene July 20-24 to consider candidates for July 2016 and January 2017 classes. Applications are due to the Air Force Personnel Center by June 5. The board will select applicants for fighter, multi-engine aircraft, helicopter and remotely piloted aircraft pilot, combat systems officers – to...
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Stephen G. Eigel

Last MC-130P Combat Shadows in the Pacific retire

Air Force photograph by A1C Stephen G. Eigel An MC-130P Combat Shadow awaits its final checks on Kadena Air Base, Japan, before departing for the “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 15, 2015. The 17th S...
 
 
F22-hero1

F-22 test squadron recognizes decorated squadron member, Vietnam hero

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara William Freckleton, 412th Range Squadron lead F-22 range control officer, poses before his F-16D incentive flight April 21. Freckleton is the only decorated Vietnam veteran at the 411th Flight...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

AFRL redesigns mock UAV, ‘Surrogate Predator’

Courtesy photograph An enhanced Surrogate Predator 3 is prepared for takeoff. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors were added to the Cessna 182 so it can mimic a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Air Force Rese...
 




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>