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Lockheed’s fifth AEHF satellite completes TVAC testing

23rd May 2018 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Lockheed Martin’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) protected communications satellite has completed a series of launch environment tests, the company announced on 21 May.

For the 39 days of Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC) testing, the satellite was subjected to extreme cold and heat in zero atmosphere, to simulate its future on-orbit life. TVAC is a part of a battery of tests that ensure a satellite will arrive in space functionally sound and ready to operate through the extreme temperature changes of space.

AEHF-5 has also completed acoustic testing following TVAC testing where it was subjected to high intensity, low frequency sound waves that simulated the vibrations generated by a rocket propelling its payload from zero to over 17,500mp/h in under eight minutes.

The satellite is now in system-level testing and will be delivered to the US Air Force in 2019. Following its anticipated 2019 launch, the satellite will join the AEHF constellation that continues to provide global, secure, protected and survivable communications for the US and allied forces on ground, sea and air platforms.

Michael Cacheiro, VP for Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin Space, said: ‘TVAC and acoustic tests are critical milestones in the production cycle of a satellite, where we have one shot to get it right, so we take every precaution to ensure the vehicle is ready for the harsh space environment.

The fourth AEHF satellite, which is rapidly nearing the end of its production stage, will be shipped to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station later in 2018 in preparation for a launch on an Atlas V launch vehicle.

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