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Five-Satellite Milstar Constellation Built By Lockheed Martin Achieves 50 Years Of Combined On Orbit Operations


SUNNYVALE, Calif.- A U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] team announced today that the five-satellite Milstar constellation has accumulated 50 years of combined on-orbit operations and continues to provide secure, reliable and robust communications to U.S. and Allied Forces around the globe.

Of the five Milstar satellites on orbit, two are of the first-generation Block I design, launched in 1994 and 1995. The system graduated to a Block II design and the Air Force subsequently launched three of the Block II configuration between 2001 and 2003.

Each Milstar satellite in the constellation continues to perform with outstanding results, providing a protected, global communication network for the joint forces of the U.S. military and can transmit voice, data, and imagery, in addition to offering video teleconferencing capabilities.

The Milstar system is the only survivable, endurable means that the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Commander, U.S. Strategic Command have to maintain positive command and control of the nation’s strategic forces.

“The Milstar team takes great pride in the constellation’s impressive record of performance and longevity,” said Kevin Bilger, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of Global Communications Systems. “This milestone is a true testament to the talented and dedicated group of people working to deliver critical, secure connectivity to the warfighter.”

The Milstar team is led by the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif. is the prime contractor, satellite bus provider, lead systems integrator, and ground command & control provider.

In July 2007, a U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin team successfully reconfigured the Milstar constellation to maximize the system’s capabilities and coverage. The successful realignment was a key step in paving the way for Milstar’s follow-on program, the protected and highly secure communications system, Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF). Advanced EHF satellites will increase data rates by a factor of five and the number of connections by a factor of two, permitting transmission of more tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.

Lockheed Martin is progressing on the first three satellites in the Advanced EHF program, recently completing thermal vacuum testing on the second satellite at the company’s Sunnyvale, Calif. facilities. The first Advanced EHF spacecraft is planned for delivery to the Air Force in 2010.


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