Lockheed Martin announced that the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) military communications satellite is now undergoing thermal vacuum testing at the company’s Sunnyvale, CA facilities. The US Air Force’s Advanced EHF system will provide global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. One of the most significant program milestones, thermal vacuum testing will verify Advanced EHF spacecraft functionality and performance in a vacuum environment where the satellite is stressed at the extreme hot and cold temperatures it will experience in space throughout its 14-year design life.
Advanced EHF thermal vacuum testing is conducted in Lockheed Martin’s Dual Entry Large Thermal Altitude (DELTA) chamber and is one of several critical environmental test phases that validate the overall satellite design, quality of workmanship and survivability during space vehicle launching and on-orbit operations. “The start of this critical environmental test is another important milestone in our development of this sophisticated protected communications program,” said John Miyamoto, Lockheed Martin’s Advanced EHF vice president. “Our team is focused on executing a highly disciplined and successful test, demonstrating with high confidence that the spacecraft will meet all performance requirements.”
Following completion of spacecraft thermal vacuum testing, the team of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the Advanced EHF prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, CA, the payload supplier, will perform environmental test data analysis and remaining integration and test activities necessary to prepare the vehicle for flight. The spacecraft is planned for delivery to the Air Force in 2011 in preparation for launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.
A single Advanced EHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently on-orbit. Individual user data rates will be five times improved. The higher data rates will permit transmission of tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data. In addition to its tactical mission, Advanced EHF will also provide the critical survivable, protected and endurable communications to the National Command Authority including presidential conferencing in all levels of conflict. Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide three Advanced EHF satellites and the Mission Control Segment to its customer, the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, located at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. The program is in the early stages of adding a fourth spacecraft to the planned constellation.