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Navy Launches Newest Military Communications Satellite

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS031219-08

Release Date: 12/19/2003 11:18:00 AM

By Gary Wagner, Naval Network & Space Operations Command Public Affairs

DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- The Naval Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC), reached an important milestone when it launched the 11th Ultra-High Frequency Follow-on (UHF F/O) F11 satellite from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Dec. 17, at 9:30 p.m. EST.

The spacecraft was lofted into orbit by an Atlas III rocket.

The event marked the first time the Navy had the lead responsibility for launch, early orbit and on-orbit operations of a spacecraft in the UHF F/O satellite communications system. The 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., conducted previous UHF F/O launches and handed over the satellites to the Navy once operational.

Over the next month, NAVSOC will direct the satellite to its final position in a geosynchronous orbit around the Earth, and conduct in-orbit-testing before declaring the satellite operational. Upon Navy acceptance of this new asset, satellite operations will be conducted from NAVSOC.

The UHF F/O F-11 satellite supports the DoD's narrowband military satellite communications requirements, serving mobile users including ships, submarines, aircraft and ground forces. F-11 features enhanced UHF communications, providing two additional UHF channels and greater flexibility in configuring communication services. Additionally, the satellite contains an extremely high frequency (EHF) package for encrypted, highly jam resistant, and survivable communications primarily for Navy users.

The UHF F/O spacecraft measures more than 60 feet from the tip of one solar wing to the tip of the other. The spacecraft's three-panel solar array panel provides more than 2,800 watts of electrical power and weighs more than 3,000 pounds. UHF F/O F-11 will be the last addition to the UHF F/O constellation and will continue to provide UHF and enhanced EHF communications to the warfighter into the latter part of the next decade.

NAVSOC, based in Point Mugu, Calif., is a component of the Naval Network and Space Operations Command in Dahlgren, Va., which functions is the system operational manager for UHF satellite communications for the Navy. NAVSOC is responsible for providing satellite telemetry, tracking and commanding for a number of satellite systems, including UHF F/O, the Fleet Satellite Communications (FLTSATCOM) and Geodetic Satellite Follow-On spacecraft, in addition to the FLTSATCOM EHF Package and Polar payloads.

NAVSOC also maintains the health of the remaining transit satellites in support of ionospheric research and provides ephemeris Data and TRANSEC information to EHF users.

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