The Air Force announced that it successfully activated the communications payload on the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite on Aug. 14, four days after the satellite arrived at its intended station in geostationary orbit. “During payload activation, the payload wings and antennas were deployed, and the payload processors were initialized and verified in preparation for on-orbit test,” states the release from service space officials at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. The military communications satellite’s on-orbit test phase will occur over the next two months to validate its performance prior to it commencing operations as part of the combined constellation of Milstar and AEHF satellites, according to the release. Airmen activated the payload from the AEHF command and control site located at Schriever AFB, Colo. Lockheed Martin is the prime AEHF contractor. AEHF-2, launched into space in May, joined AEHF-1, which completed its on-orbit testing earlier this year.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.