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[] 15.11.01: US Air Force Milstar II satellite in position for early 2002 launch,

US Air Force Milstar II satellite in position for early 2002 launch

15 November 2001

A US Air Force Milstar II military communications satellite has arrived at the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida, where it will be readied for a January 2002 launch aboard a Titan IV/Centaur launch vehicle.

The satellite, built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems and designated Milstar Flight 5, 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.

Christine Anderson, MILSATCOM Joint Programme Office Director, said "this event is the culmination of years of hard work by the government/industry team and will provide a significant increase in communications capability for the military forces."

Milstar's "switchboard-in-space" concept allows communications links to be established rapidly and is a revolutionary departure from current communications systems. The spacecraft constellation provides protected, global communication links for the joint forces of the US military and can transmit voice, data, and imagery, in addition to offering video teleconferencing capabilities. Milstar Flight 5 will increase the Milstar constellation's capability to provide near-global coverage for the nation's strategic forces, Air Force's space warning assets and operationally deployed military forces.

The Milstar team is led by the MILSATCOM Joint Programme Office at the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Centre, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale Operations, is the prime contractor and lead systems integrator. Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) provides the Medium Data Rate payload and crosslink subsystem, and TRW Space & Electronics Group provides the Low Data Rate payload.

The Milstar National Team members are preparing the spacecraft for its scheduled launch in January 2002. The final Milstar satellite (Flight 6) is scheduled for launch in November 2002. 

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