AEHF-1’s Operational Debut Delayed

The Air Force’s first Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, AEHF-1, is not expected to reach its intended operational orbit until at least June 2011—roughly seven months later than originally planned—due to problems with one of the satellite’s on-board propulsion systems. Air Force officials will then require another three to four months checkout time before AEHF-1 is fully operational in late 2011, Dave Madden, USAF’s Military Satellite Communications Wing director at Los Angeles, AFB, Calif., told reporters Monday during a teleconference. The satellite was placed into space on Aug. 14. Its liquid apogee engine, one of three propulsion systems meant to thrust the spacecraft towards its planned orbital perch, has failed in two attempts since Aug. 15 to meet its expected acceleration, shutting down each time, said Madden. As a result, officials have devised a new plan to move the satellite, but it will take more time, he said. Continue