Grumman Corporation has received the first test
terminal for the Department of Defense’s next-generation
Advanced Extremely High Frequencies (EHF) satellite system
from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory.

Northrop Grumman Space Technology is developing the satellite
communications payloads for the system, which will deliver
secure, high-speed network-centric communications with anywhere,
anytime access to U.S. and allied forces. The terminal,
AEHF Universal System Test-Terminal, (AUST-T), provides
the means for Northrop Grumman to test the compatibility
of the satellite payloads with Advanced EHF ground terminals
that military forces will use to communicate via satellite.
AUST-T will also test the backward compatibility of the
Advanced EHF payloads with ground terminals of the current
Milstar system.

“Our early verification of payload-terminal compatibility
using the AUST-T is a critical step in developing the Advanced
EHF system,” said Clayton Kau, Northrop Grumman Space Technology
vice president and Advanced EHF payload program manager.
“Existence of this standard will reduce design errors and
debugging time for terminal developers.”

When fielded, Advanced EHF ground terminals will provide
warfighters with important new capabilities. These include
delivery of protected communications services at rates as
high as 8 megabits per second, or five times faster than
is possible with today’s Milstar medium-data-rate services.
The higher rates will enable satellite communications support
for new missions and reduced transmission times for current
missions. The new terminals will also extend the data rates
for highly robust survivable communications to 19.2 kilobits
per second.

Kau added that the AUST-T provides many features that will
not be part of standard terminals. They include capabilities
for measuring performance, logging interactions and capturing
data, executing repeatable tests, and investigating system
operations and problems.

In all, a total of six AUST-Ts will play a key role in development
of the Advanced EHF satellite system. Major verification
tasks involving the AUST-Ts will include:

  • Use as a part of the payload test set, in conducting payload-level performance tests;
  • Use at Lockheed Martin Corporation, after the satellite payloads are integrated with the spacecraft bus, during satellite-leveltesting;
  • Testing between space and ground segments of the system; and
  • On-orbit tests of the initial satellite.

In developing the AUST-T, the Lincoln Laboratory built upon
its experience with the Advanced EHF digital-processor engineering
model, developed in an earlier risk-reduction program at
Northrop Grumman and delivered in 2000 to Lincoln Laboratory.

Lockheed Martin, under contract to the U.S. Air Force Space
& Missile Systems Center, is the Advanced EHF system integrator
and is developing the satellite bus at its Sunnyvale, Calif.,

Northrop Grumman Space Technology is a leading developer
of military and civil space systems, satellite payloads,
and advanced electronics.

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Bob Bishop
Northrop Grumman Space Technology
(310) 812-5227