LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The U.S. Air Force has successfully launched the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-4) communication satellite, Wednesday, Oct.17 at 12:15 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The satellite was carried to orbit aboard an United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 551 launch vehicle.
The satellite successfully separated from the launch vehicle at 3:47 a.m., three hours and 32 minutes after liftoff, and will now undergo approximately 160 days of orbit-raising operations followed by approximately 42 days of on-orbit testing. After these critical events, SMC will be ready to transfer Satellite Control Authority of AEHF-4 to the 14th Air Force.
“We are proud of the tremendous efforts by the combined ULA, Lockheed Martin, and Government team in making this launch such a success,” said Col. David Ashley, the Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Systems Directorate’s AEHF government program manager. “The satellite is healthy and operating as expected. We have now turned our attention to maneuvering it into its final orbital location over the next several months and look forward to many years of service in providing critical communication capabilities to our warfighters around the world.”
AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system which will provide connectivity across the spectrum of mission areas, including land, air, and naval warfare; special operations; strategic nuclear operations; strategic defense; theater missile defense; and space operations and intelligence. The AEHF system is the follow-on to the Milstar system, augmenting and improving on the capabilities of Milstar, and expanding the MILSATCOM architecture to enable enhanced capacity and flexibility.
AEHF-4 was procured from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company by the MILSATCOM Systems Directorate, part of the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center. The MILSATCOM Systems Directorate plans, acquires, and sustains space-based global communications in support of the President, Secretary of Defense, and combat forces. The entire MILSATCOM enterprise consists of satellites, terminals and control stations, and provides communications for more than 16,000 air, land, and sea platforms.
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