Smithsonian Institution Honors Lockheed Martin-Built Milstar Program With Prestigious Award For Current Achievement
WASHINGTON, 04-MAR-04 -- A U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin-led team has been selected as the winner of the 2004 National Air and Space Museum Trophy for Current Achievement for the successful development, deployment, and operation of the Department of Defense's most technologically advanced telecommunications satellite system, known as Milstar.
The award was established in 1985 to recognize extraordinary achievements in aerospace and is bestowed annually in two categories, Current and Lifetime Achievement. It ranks with the most distinguished honors and awards of the Smithsonian Institution. Neil Armstrong is being honored this year for Lifetime Achievement.
The Milstar system has certainly changed the way we operate for the better, said General Richard B. Myers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a recent message regarding the trophy for current achievement in aerospace. For more than 10 years now, senior military leaders have been extremely grateful for the accomplishments of the men and women of the Milstar Team.
The Milstar system provides critical, secure links to U.S. national leaders, and air, land and sea forces around the globe. The 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 this nation's strategic forces.
Last year, the team successfully launched the final Milstar satellite and the Department of Defense now has a robust constellation of five operational satellites encircling the Earth. The constellation includes two first-generation Block I spacecraft, launched in 1994 and 1995, which are equipped with a UHF and Low Data Rate EHF payload provided by Northrop Grumman Space Technology of Redondo Beach, Calif., and crosslink payloads to communicate between on-orbit satellites, built by Boeing Satellite Systems, El Segundo, Calif.
The Air Force transitioned to the Block II configuration with the successful launch of the first Milstar II satellite in 2001, which offers a variety of enhanced communications features for the U.S. military, including the Boeing-built Medium Data Rate EHF payload, which can process data at speeds up to 1.5 megabits per second.
The final two Block II satellites were successfully launched in 2002 and 2003 and in both cases the team achieved an accelerated on-orbit checkout so that the satellite's high-speed, highly protected communications capabilities could be quickly placed into operational service. The Milstar II satellite communications network supported military operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom by providing secure transmission of critical targeting information and ground forces command and control data and will continue to ensure necessary communications for deployed forces around the globe.
The Milstar team is led by the MILSATCOM Joint Program Office 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, ground command & control provider and lead systems integrator for Milstar, which were launched aboard Lockheed Martin-built Titan IV/Centaur rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Other Milstar team members include the Aerospace Corp and Raytheon.