27 March 2014
The third Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite has begun transmitting using its protected communications payload, joining two other satellites undergoing system test in orbit with a suite of user terminals. AEHF satellites are produced by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) for the US Air Force.
Launched on Sept. 18, 2013, AEHF-3 arrived in its final orbit position and began transmissions in January. The first two satellites have been doing well in limited user testing, and other nations are now using the system. Canada and the Netherlands connected in 2013, and an announcement of a first connection by the United Kingdom is expected this year. Now the third satellite will increase capacity and coverage as the international partners grow their user testing community.
“First transmissions on AEHF-3 were exactly what we expected, and orbit-raising was a textbook example of how to deliver a satellite to geostationary orbit,” said Mark Calassa, vice president of Protected Communication Systems at Lockheed Martin. “The satellite´s journey after launch went precisely as planned. We took advantage of the industry´s highest thrust electric propulsion, which was used during 95 percent of the transfer orbit period.”
AEHF is a hybrid spacecraft that uses both chemical and Hall Current Thruster electric propulsion to arrive at its geostationary position.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.