Lockheed Martin-Built Communications Satellite Begins Operations For U.S. Air Force
SUNNYVALE, Calif., 21-DEC-03 -- A U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin team has successfully completed on-orbit checkout and testing of the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) spacecraft launched on Aug. 29, 2003 from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. aboard a Delta IV rocket. The satellite, the last of 14 DSCS III spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT], has now begun its controlled drift to its operational location.
Designated DSCS III B6, the satellite is a super high-frequency (SHF) communications spacecraft that features Service Life Enhancement Program (SLEP) upgrades designed to provide improved and uninterrupted secure voice and high data rate communications to its Department of Defense users coordinated by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Additional SLEP upgrades on B6 will provide increased downlink power and improved connectivity to its antennas.
This satellite joins the 13 other DSCS satellites on-orbit, including DSCS A3, which was launched successfully on March 10, 2003, and is operational. The very first DSCS III spacecraft was launched on Oct. 30, 1982 aboard a Titan 34D launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral and is currently used for testing. Air Force Space Command, Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., operates the DSCS constellation for the Department of Defense.
This spacecraft is the final vehicle delivered to the Air Force in an outstanding program spanning decades of excellence and mission success, said Leonard F. Kwiatkowski, vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale. Since its' inception, the program has had an extraordinary team of dedicated, talented individuals who have been focused on delivering the best quality communications spacecraft to the military. Congratulations to the entire Air Force/Aerospace/DISA/Lockheed Martin team on successfully completing the DSCS constellation.
Each DSCS III satellite has a design life of 10-years, although more than half of the DSCS satellites on-orbit today have far exceeded their design life expectancy and continue to perform with outstanding results. The DSCS constellation supported military operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom and will continue to provide vital communications links to U.S. and Allied Forces around the globe well into the future.
Low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of DSCS artist renderings and the B6 satellite during pre-launch check out at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, Calif. are available at the following URL:
http://lmms.external.lmco.com/photos/military_space/ and click on DSCS