Second AEHF Satellite Launched

The Air Force and its industry partners successfully launched the second Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carried the sophisticated, Lockheed Martin-built military communications satellite into space on May 4. “We applaud the teamwork between our wing and all our mission partners involved in making this mission a success,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th SW commander at Patrick AFB, Fla., who served as the launch decision authority. The satellite, which joins AEHF-1 on orbit, will undergo approximately 110 days of orbit-raising operations followed by approximately 120 days of on-orbit testing, stated officials with the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., in a release. “Each AEHF spacecraft will provide warfighters much improved protected communications capabilities,” said Col. Michael Sarchet, AEHF program manager. The satellite will improve user data rates “five-fold,” permitting transmission of tactical communications including real-time video, battlefield maps, and targeting data, said Lockheed Martin in a release. “AEHF is integral to our national security architecture,” said Kevin Bilger, general manager of the company’s Global Communications Systems. (Includes Cape Canaveral report by Chris Calkins)