The U.S. Air Force’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communication satellite was encapsulated June 5 at Astrotech Space Operations processing facility in Florida.
The encapsulation of AEHF-5 in the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle payload fairing is a significant milestone in AEHF-5’s launch process as it marks the completion of all major testing activity prior to launch. AEHF-5 is now ready to make the journey to Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where it will be mated with its Atlas V launch vehicle. The launch window is currently scheduled to open at 06:00 a.m. EDT on June 27.
The satellite was developed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin at its production facility located in Sunnyvale, California. After the satellite was built, it shipped to Cape Canaveral AFS by a USAF C-5 Galaxy strategic airlifter from the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base.
“The team has worked exceptionally hard to get us where we are today, preparing to launch SV5 less than a year after we launched SV4, and I am proud of their contributions to the program,” said Mike Cacheiro, vice president for Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin Space. “This is the result of commitment and dedication from the entire AEHF team and our partners at the US Air Force’s Space and Missiles Systems Center.”
AEHF is a joint service satellite communications system that will provide survivable, global, secure, protected, and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea, and air assets. The AEHF system is the follow-on to the Milstar system, augmenting, improving, and expanding the Department of Defense’s MILSATCOM architecture.
AEHF-5 was procured from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company by the MILSATCOM Systems Directorate, part of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. The MILSATCOM Systems Directorate plans, acquires, and sustains space-based global communications in support of the President, Secretary of Defense, and combat forces. The MILSATCOM enterprise consists of satellites, terminals and control stations, and provides communications for more than 16,000 air, land, and sea platforms.