Detailed Milstar Block 3 Satellite. The solar panels are animated.
Milstar 3 Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) AEHF had its share of technical problems, including interface control redesigns, delayed delivery of signal-encryption products, disqualified parts, and unplanned component testing. But the program suffered as much, if not more, from as many as six changes in the requirements and number of satellites, from budget fiuctuations and from constant program replanning and rebaselining.
The first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance from Launch Pad 41 Aug. 14, 2010 at 7:07 a.m. The launch was supervised by the 45th Space Wing. The satellite is the most technologically advanced military communications satellite ever developed and will provide significantly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected, communications for warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.
The Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite communications system is designed to provide secure, survivable communications to U.S. warfighters during all levels of conflict. It will follow Milstar as the protected backbone of DoD's military satellite communications architecture. The first flight of the AEHF satellite program, named Pathfinder, will be programmed to operate initially as a Milstar II satellite (in lieu of an additional Milstar satellite to replace Flight 3, which placed the satellite in a non-operational orbit). The second flight will then be launched as a fully capable AEHF satellite. After it is operational, Pathfinder will be reprogrammed on-orbit as an AEHF satellite.
The first three program phases: AEHF Technology, Engineering Models, and System Definition have been completed. At Milestone B, the Defense Acquisition Board authorized fabrication and assembly of the first two satellites (SV1, SV2), development and deployment of the ground command and control segment, and advanced procurement for three additional satellites (SV3, SV4, and SV5) within the Future Years Defense Program. A separate tailored Milestone C was anticipated, following completion of the system-level Critical Design Review (CDR), to provide final authorization for production of SV3, SV4, and SV5. However, a February 2003-approved Acquisition Program Baseline incorporates a revised strategy that deletes SV4 and SV5 with a decision point in 1QFY05 to evaluate Transformational Communications development and the need, if any, for additional AEHF satellites. The first AEHF launch is scheduled for 1QFY07 and the second launch for 2QFY08. Advanced EHF is to consist of four cross-linked satellites covering the globe from 65 degrees north to 65 degrees south, providing 10 times the data rate available through MILSTAR.