Lockheed Martin received in-orbit signals from the U.S. Air Force’s fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency spacecraft just hours after the communications satellite launched Wednesday atop United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V 551 rocket.
AEHF-4 that took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida completes a geostationary satellite constellation that will deliver tactical military communications coverage to the service and allies such as the U.K., Canada and the Netherlands, Lockheed said Wednesday.
Lockheed will transition the satellite to the testing phase before handing over the spacecraft’s operation to the service branch.
The company has updated the mission planning ground platform and is under contract to work on the Air Force’s fifth and sixth AEHF satellites.
Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO, said the company’s efforts to bring payloads into orbit reflect its commitment to national defense.
Lockheed assembled all AEHF satellites at its Sunnyvale, Calif.-based facility and provided its LM A2100 spacecraft bus, solar arrays and mission control ground software for the satellites.
Northrop Grumman supplied the payloads for the satellites.