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Milestone reached for Milstar Flight 2

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As the Air Force works to acquire the next generation of space assets for the warfighter to continue fighting the Global War on Terrorism, space-based resources already in place continue providing a valuable service as they have for more than 10 years.

One of these resources is Milstar.

In mid-November, Milstar Flight 2 reached its 10-year, on-orbit milestone of providing secure, reliable and robust communications to U.S. and Allied forces around the world.

“The success of Milstar Flight 2 is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of an integrated government-industry team focused on insuring protected communications capabilities for the warfighter,” said Col. William Harding, MILSATCOM’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency program manager.

Since 1994, five Milstar satellites have been put in space providing users the ability to transmit large amounts of data in a very short period of time.

Milstar Flight 2 is a Block I modification of the satellite. The Air Force transitioned to the Block II in 2001. Modifications for this block included a variety of enhanced communications features and a medium data rate payload capable of processing data at speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second.

The latest Milstar, launched in 2003, created the first space-based global secure communications network where the user can transmit voice, data and imagery at high rates of speed. When it absolutely, positively has to be there, Milstar is the system of choice.

A key feature of the Milstar system includes the use of interoperable terminals by all U.S. forces. As an example, sea-based terminals are used to upload data onto shipboard cruise missiles in real time. Terminals on land provide data and communications exchange for the mobile ground-based user.

The Milstar constellation is controlled by a mission-control segment that is highly survivable with both mobile and fixed stations. The command and control segment providing satellite control is slated for upgrade to provide a more modern command and control system. This new system will be called Command and Control System-Consolidated. This integrated system is the operator’s choice in command and control for both the Milstar and AEHF satellite systems for satellite maneuvering through S-band links.

Milstar Flights 1 and 2, both Block I satellites, have surpassed their 10-year design life, greatly increasing confidence that the Block II satellites, and eventually the AEHF satellite system, will continue to provide assured survivable satellite communications to the joint warfighter for years to come.