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Air Force sends key communications satellite into orbit

July 30, 2010 - UNTED STATES

The United States Air Force sends its first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF 1) spacecraft into orbit aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from the Complex 41 launch pad at Cape Canaveral. A national security communications satellite, the AEHF 1 is the first of a new generation of geosynchronous spacecraft that relay secure communications between the Pentagon and battlefield commanders. The manufacturer describes the AEHF 1 as dependable, jam-resistant and immune from interception.

The United States Air Force sends its first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF 1) spacecraft into orbit aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from the Complex 41 launch pad at Cape Canaveral. A national security communications satellite, the AEHF 1 is the first of a new generation of geosynchronous spacecraft that relay secure communications between the Pentagon and battlefield commanders. The manufacturer describes the AEHF 1 as dependable, jam-resistant and immune from interception. The designers of the AEHF1, built by Lockheed Martin with help from Northrop Grumman, say one of the new spacecraft has more capacity than the Milstar's five-satellite constellation it replaces. They say its faster data rates will benefit tactical military communications, enabling higher quality maps, targeting data and live video to be transmitted without being detected by the enemy. Two more AEHF satellites are built and progressing through factory testing. Their launches aboard Atlas 5 rockets are expected by 2012. According to Spaceflight Now, which reported the plans for the launch, this will be the 22nd launch for the Atlas 5 since 2002 and the ninth dedicated Defense Department mission. Atlas completed two civil and military flights earlier this year to deploy NASA's new Sun-watching observatory and the Air Force's X-37B experimental spaceplane. (Written Jun 2010)

Second Advanced Military Communications Satellite Completes Major Environmental Test At Lockheed Martin (Lockheed Martin 16 Sep 2009)

Major satellite launch next on Cape Canaveral schedule (Spaceflight Now 10 Jun 2010)

Date written/update: 2010-07-30