Saturday, May 08, 2010

The first AEHF & Sbirs satellites will launch around July 30 and in early 2011

Amy Butler wrote the story below on the AWST website:

The U.S. military and intelligence community launch manifest is ramping up to a fast pace to deploy several first-of-fleet models for communications, missile warning and navigation.

The first Boeing GPS IIF, which will deploy a new safety-of-life civil signal, is slated for launch May 21, and the second is expected around Nov. 18.

The first and only Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite, made by a Boeing/Ball Aerospace team, will launch in July from a Minotaur IV from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. SBSS is the first satellite designed to surveil spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit from low Earth orbit, and it is needed to fill a gap in space situational awareness data.

The first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) and Space-Based Infrared System (Sbirs) satellites, both made by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, will launch around July 30 and in early 2011, respectively.

As the Pentagon prepares for these seminal launches, The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) also is preparing for the “most aggressive launch schedule that this organization has undertaken in the last 25 years,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. (ret.) Bruce Carlson, NRO director, during a speech at last month’s National Space Symposium. He says that several “very large, very critical” satellites are awaiting launch in the next 12-18 months for the NRO. “We simply have to get them off,” he said, underscoring how urgently they are needed. Carlson also expressed concern for the industrial base, and says he plans to boost he amount of science and technology spending coming from NRO.

You can read the entire story at