Service unimpressed by study into transformational use of AEHF satellites

Building Transformational Satellite (TSAT) capabilities into Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) spacecraft will not be an efficient way of delivering early performance, says the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC).

An SMC study completed late last year, and released during the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this month, found that using AEHF or other satellite programmes to test TSAT technologies would not be an efficient use of resources. “To reach TSAT-like capability the most efficient way is with TSAT: not by putting small increments of TSAT technology on AEHF,” says SMC commander Lt Gen Michael Hamel.

The conclusion ends speculation that the USAF’s three AEHF satellites, scheduled for launch in 2008, 2009 and 2010, could be used to accelerate the deployment of TSAT capabilities, such as data transfer rates of 6,000Gb/s. The $18 billion TSAT programme will see five laser-communication satellites operating from the middle of next decade as part of the US military’s Global Information Grid.

  • A Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman team has completed compatibility tests of a next-generation processor/router for the TSAT system. Lockheed also last month received a $2 billion USAF contract to develop and deploy a mission operations system to provide network management for the TSAT architecture.


Source: Flight International