Press Release

First Lockheed Martin-Built Milstar Satellite Marks 10 Years in Service

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2004
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The first U.S. Air
Force Milstar communications satellite, built by a team led by Lockheed Martin, has achieved its 10-year design life of on-orbit service,
providing our nation’s warfighters with secure and reliable communications
during military operations since 1994.

Launched aboard a Titan IV launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral on
Feb. 7, 1994, the first Milstar satellite is one of two Block I spacecraft on
orbit equipped with a UHF and Low Data Rate EHF payload provided by Northrop
Grumman Space Technology of Redondo Beach, Calif., and equipped with crosslink
payloads to communicate between on-orbit satellites, built by Boeing Satellite
Systems, El Segundo, Calif.

The Air Force transitioned to the Block II configuration with the
successful launch of the first Milstar II satellite in 2001. The Milstar
Block II system offers a variety of enhanced communications features for the
U.S. military, including the Medium Data Rate EHF payload also built by Boeing
Satellite Systems, which can process data at speeds up to 1.5 megabits per

“The Milstar team takes extreme pride in Milstar’s impressive record of
performance and longevity,” said Leonard F. Kwiatkowski, vice president,
military space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale. “For over
10 years, Milstar has served as the backbone of secure military communications
capabilities and will continue to make an important contribution to national
security for many years to come.”

Milstar is the Defense Department’s most technologically advanced
telecommunications satellite system, which provides critical, secure links to
U.S. national leaders, air, land and sea forces around the globe. The Milstar
system is the only survivable, endurable means that the President, the
Secretary of Defense and the Commander, U.S. Strategic Command have to
maintain positive command and control of this nation’s strategic forces.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif. is the prime contractor,
satellite bus provider, ground command & control provider and lead systems
integrator for Milstar, which were launched aboard Lockheed Martin-built Titan
IVB/Centaur rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

On April 8, 2003, the final Milstar II was launched successfully and the
team achieved an accelerated on-orbit checkout so that satellite’s high-speed,
highly protected communications capabilities could be quickly placed into
operational service.

With the final Milstar on orbit, the first space-based global network is
now in operation, providing a secure communications network which can transmit
voice, data, and imagery, in addition to offering video teleconferencing
capabilities for the Department of Defense. The Milstar team is led by the
MILSATCOM Joint Program Office at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems
Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 130,000
people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design,
development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems,
products and services. The corporation reported 2003 sales of $31.8 billion.

Media Contact: Steve Tatum, 408-742-7531; e-mail,

For the complete press kit, including program profiles and images, please
visit the Milstar News Center at:

For more information about Lockheed Martin Space Systems, see our web site

SpaceRef staff editor.