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 November 26, 2014

News: When Hagel leaves, new SecDef faces big questions about the military’s futureĀ - President Obama’s new pick to run the Pentagon will face a dizzying set of challenges affecting the Defense Department’s mission, budget and culture. Who will be the next Secretary of Defense?- Following the Nov. 24 surprise announcement from the White House, the...
 
 

News Briefs November 26, 2014

Navy to decommission two more ships in Puget Sound The Navy recently decommissioned the guided missile frigate USS Ingraham at Everett, Wash. It will be towed to Bremerton and scrapped. The Daily Herald reports the Navy also plans to decommission another ship at the Everett homeport and also one stationed in Bremerton. Naval Station Everett...
 
 

NASA airborne campaigns tackle climate questions from Africa to Arctic

NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into how different aspects of the interconnected Earth system influence climate change. NASA photograph The DC-8 airborne laboratory is one of several NASA aircraft that will fly in support of five new investigations into...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 

Northrop Grumman supports U.S. Air Force Minuteman missile test launch

Northrop Grumman recently supported the successful flight testing of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system. The operational flight test was conducted as part of the Air Force Global Strike Command’s Force Development Evaluation Program. This program demonstrates and supports assessment of the accuracy, availability and reliability of the...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 




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>