Another AEHF Hurdle Passed

Lockheed Martin has completed final thermal vacuum testing of the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, which the company expect to deliver to USAF next year. In a July 20 release, the company noted that the test was “one of several critical environmental test phases” and “demonstrated spacecraft performance and functionality in a complete test-like-you-fly environment.” Lockheed’s Sunnyvale, Calif., facility tested the spacecraft through extremes of heat and cold it will experience during its planned 14-year life cycle. John Miyamoto, Lockheed’s AEHF vice president, said the test provides “high confidence that we have a robust spacecraft that will meet all performance requirements once on-orbit.” Each AEHF satellite is designed to provide greater communications capacity than the entire Milstar constellation currently on orbit. Lockheed began thermal vacuum testing on the second AEHF sat earlier this year and projects that it and the third sat “are on track for launch in 2011 and 2012, respectively.”