A combined USAF MILSATCOM Joint
Program Office/Lockheed Martin-led team has completed on-orbit testing of
the second Milstar II secure communications satellite in record time and
transferred full operational control of the spacecraft to the Air Force
operational command. The turnover represents a major milestone as the U.S.
military now has a four-satellite operational constellation — achieving
global coverage — of the most complex military communications satellite

Launched on Jan. 15, 2002 aboard a Titan IV B rocket, the Milstar II
satellite is the Defense Department’s most technologically advanced
telecommunications satellite and is the second to carry the Medium Data Rate
(MDR) payload. Built by Boeing Satellite Systems, El Segundo, Calif., the
MDR payload has 32 channels, which can process data at speeds of 1.5
megabits per second. The spacecraft also features the Low Data Rate (LDR)
payload, built by TRW Space and Electronics of Redondo Beach, Calif. TRW
also supplies MDR antennas and a digital processor to Boeing.

The addition of this new satellite increases the Milstar constellation’s
capability to provide worldwide LDR coverage for the nation’s strategic
forces, space warning assets and deployed operational forces. Lockheed
Martin Space Systems, the prime contractor and lead systems integrator for
Milstar, worked under a contract to significantly accelerate the on-orbit
checkout of the satellite so it could be quickly placed into service in
support of the current military operations. The team finished the on-orbit
check of spacecraft systems in 64 days, roughly half the time than previous
Milstar on-orbit testing.

“Having a ring of four Milstar satellites around the earth is a major
milestone as we now have a robust constellation that will enable the
warfighter to communicate on a global basis in a secure mode without concern
of enemy interference,” said Maj. Gen. Dale W. Meyerrose, Director of
Command Control Systems, NORAD and U.S. Space Command, and Director of
Communications and Information, Air Force Space Command. “We believe this
accelerated process worked well with Milstar and will serve as a template
for making future MILSATCOM launches more operationally responsive and
relevant,” he added.

The Milstar system is designed to provide the survivable communication to
national leadership and also provide the military services with reliable,
secure, jam-proof communications between fixed-site, mobile, maritime and
portable terminals. “Milstar’s ‘switchboard-in-space’ concept allows
communications links to be established rapidly and is a revolutionary
departure from current communications systems,” said Christine M. Anderson,
Director, MILSATCOM Joint Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center,
Los Angeles Air Force Base. “The reliability and success of this critical
national program is a true testament to the dedication, skill and
engineering excellence of our Milstar National Team,” added Anderson.

The Milstar team members, which include the U.S. Air Force, Aerospace Corp,
Lockheed Martin, Boeing, TRW and Raytheon, are preparing for the final
launch of a Milstar satellite, F-6, currently scheduled for launch in
November 2002.


NOTE TO EDITORS: Low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of Milstar are
available at the following URL: