Press Release

Lockheed Martin-led Team Completes On-Orbit Checkout of Final Milstar II Satellite Ahead of Schedule

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2003
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A U.S. Air
Force/Lockheed Martin-led team has successfully accomplished an accelerated
on-orbit checkout of the last Milstar II secure communications satellite and
transferred full operational control of the spacecraft to the Air Force Space
Command. The satellite will now be quickly placed into service to support
current military operations. The Milstar II satellite communications network
supported military operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom by providing
secure transmission of critical targeting information and ground forces
command and control data and will continue to ensure necessary communications
for deployed forces around the globe.

The Milstar satellite network provides secure communications for the
Department of Defense and can transmit voice, data, and imagery, in addition
to offering video teleconferencing capabilities. Milstar’s “switchboard-in-
space” concept allows communications links to be established rapidly, allowing
the networking of satellites together in space and eliminating the need for
ground relay stations. With the addition of the final spacecraft, the U.S.
military now has a global network consisting of five Milstar satellites that
provide rapid, global communications coverage for the nation’s strategic
forces, the Air Force’s space warning assets and operationally deployed
military forces.

The Milstar communications 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, according to General Emile Bataille, director of
USSTRATCOM’s Combat Support Directorate.

The team completed the checkout and testing of all spacecraft systems
ahead of the planned schedule and in roughly half the time required for the
first Milstar II in 2001. In fact the Milstar team completed the checkout in
55 days rather than the planned 57, according to Lt Col Mike Hirka, the
Milstar Program Manager, adding that the team made this complex and difficult
task “look simple and easy.” The team conducted extensive tests, some of
which involved operational command and control assets located at Schriever and
Vandenberg Air Force Bases, operational terminals on Navy ships and
submarines, and HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle)-mounted EHF
satellite terminals and other portable terminals for the tactical warfighter.
The satellite passed all tests, meeting or exceeding all mission performance

“The addition of the final Milstar satellite to an operational status in
the constellation provides not only a new national capability, but also caps
off a decade of acquisition excellence on the Milstar Block II contract,” said
Christine Anderson, Director, MILSATCOM Joint Program Office, Space and
Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base. “I congratulate the
entire government/industry Milstar team for making this final checkout a
fantastic success.”

Milstar is the Defense Department’s most technologically advanced
telecommunications satellite system, providing critical, secure links to U.S.
national leaders, air, land and sea forces around the globe and has been used
to support military operations since 1994. The last satellite features the
Medium Data Rate (MDR) payload, built by Boeing Satellite Systems, El Segundo,

The MDR payload has 32 channels, which can process data at speeds up to
1.5 megabits per second. Increased data rates are used for applications such
as command and control, intelligence, distribution of air tasking orders and
targeting updates to the military forces.

The spacecraft also features the Low Data Rate (LDR) payload, built by
Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Redondo Beach, Calif. Northrop Grumman
also supplies MDR antennas and the MDR digital processor to Boeing. Lockheed
Martin Space Systems Company is the prime contractor, satellite bus provider,
and lead systems integrator for Milstar, which are launched aboard Lockheed
Martin-built Titan IVB/Centaur rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,

“Milstar enables our nation’s warfighters to securely communicate,” said
Major Dave Martinson, Chief of MILSATCOM Integration, Headquarters Air Force
Space Command. “The medium data rate capability provided by the block II
satellites greatly enhances that capability and ensures timely dissemination
of vital communication.”

Lockheed Martin is also under contract to develop the Department of
Defense’s next generation of highly secure communications satellites known as
the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system. As envisioned by the
Pentagon, the fully operational Advanced EHF constellation will consist of
four networked satellites providing coverage of the Earth from 65 degrees
north latitude to 65 degrees south. Incorporating the latest technology, AEHF
satellites will provide about 10 times the user capacity as Milstar. AEHF
satellites will provide improved secure data throughput capability and
increased coverage flexibility to regional and global military operations and
will be backward compatible with the Milstar I and II system. Northrop
Grumman is developing the AEHF payload.

Space & Strategic Missiles is a key element of Lockheed Martin Space
Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., one of the major operating
units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests,
manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for
military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include space launch
and ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for
commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and
interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin employs about
125,000 people worldwide and is a global enterprise principally engaged in the
research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced
technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation reported 2002
sales of $26.6 billion.

CONTACT: Steve Tatum, 408-742-7531, or, for
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.

SpaceRef staff editor.