ULA Completes 50th Launch Mission for US Air Force

James Marshall
October 19, 2018

The goal of the satellite constellation is to "provide survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets", according to an Air Force statement. Maj. The satellite will now move into a testing phase prior to hand over to the Air Force.

Ahead of the Wednesday launch, Mike Cacheiro, Lockheed Martin's vice president of protected communications and AEHF program manager, told reporters in a conference call that "on a really bad day, you really want to have this system in place". These satellites will be used by the United States and worldwide partners including the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. "Over the past 12 years, the men and women of ULA have reliably delivered dozens of Air Force payloads into orbit from Global Positioning System to WGS, and SBIRS to AEHF", Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, said in a statement.

Wednesday's launch, the 131st for ULA and 79th for an Atlas V rocket, can be viewed on ULA's YouTube channel. Lockheed Martin is building six satellites in all for the US military.

One AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar constellation.

Atlas V rocket launched the satellite, known as Advanced Extremely High Frequency 4 (AEHF-4), at 12:15 a.m. EDT (0415 GMT) from a pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Individual data rates increase five-fold, permitting transmission of tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data. This year the company received three Edison Awards for ground-breaking innovations in autonomy, satellite technology and directed energy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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