HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

Milstar Satellite Communications System

MILSTAR satellite system history spotlight graphic, U.S. Air Force graphic

AF File Image

MILSTAR SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM

MILSTAR SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM

Mission/Vision
Milstar provides the President, Secretary of Defense and the U.S. armed forces with assured, survivable satellite communications (SATCOM) with low probability of interception and detection. Designed to overcome enemy jamming and nuclear effects, Milstar is the most robust and reliable SATCOM system currently employed by the Department of Defense (DoD).

Background
The objective of the Milstar program was to create a global, secure, nuclear-survivable, space-based communication system (considered a top national priority during the Reagan Administration in the 1980s). Milstar was designed to perform all communication processing and network routing onboard, thus eliminating the need for vulnerable land-based relay stations and reducing the chances of communications being intercepted on the ground.

Features
There are five operational Milstar satellites. The first two satellites (Milstar I) carry a low data rate (LDR) payload. The LDR payload can transmit 75 to 2,400 bps of data over 192 channels in the extremely high frequency (EHF) range. Encryption technology and satellite-to-satellite crosslinks provide secure communications, data exchange and global coverage. The other three satellites (Milstar II) carry both LDR and medium data rate (MDR) payloads. The MDR payload can transmit 4,800 bps to 1.544 Mbps of data over 32 channels. The higher data rates provide the user the ability to transmit large amounts of data in a short period of time. These 5 satellites, continuous 24-hour LDR and MDR coverage to the warfighter between 65 degrees north and 65 degrees south latitude.  The follow-on to Milstar, Advanced EHF consisting of 5 satellites, is fully backward compatible with Milstar and will form an integrated constellation of satellites.

A key feature of the Milstar system is the use of interoperable terminals by the warfighters of the U.S. Armed Forces. For example, sea-based terminals can be used to upload data in real time onto cruise missiles carried aboard submarines and guided missile destroyers. Land-based terminals provide communications and data exchange for the mobile, ground-based warfighter.  Primary command and control of the Milstar constellation is accomplished through a highly survivable mission control segment with both fixed and mobile control stations. A secondary method of command and control uses the Command and Control System-Consolidated (CCS-C) and the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN). This integrated system provides backup command and control through S-band links for both Milstar and the Advanced EHF satellite systems. 

General Characteristics
Primary function: survivable and protected communications
Primary contractor: Lockheed Martin
Payload: LDR, MDR, and UHF
Antennas: LDR: Earth Coverage (uplink & downlink), Agile Beams (5 uplink, 1 downlink), Spot Beams (2 narrow, 1 wide), MDR: 2 Nulling, 6 Distributed User Coverage Area
Capability: LDR: 75 bps - 2.4 kps / MDR: 4.8 kps1.544 Mbps

Launches
Milstar
Flight 1 - Feb 7, 94
Flight 2 - Nov 7, 95
Flight 3 - Feb 27, 01
Flight 5 - Jan 15, 02
Flight 6 - Apr 8, 03

Advanced EHF
Space Vehicle 1 - Aug 14, 10
Space Vehicle 2 - May 4, 12
Space Vehicle 3 - Sep 18, 13
Space Vehicle 4 - TBD
Space Vehicle 5 - TBD

(Current as of November 2015)

Point of Contact: Air Force Space Command Public Affairs Office; 150 Vandenberg St., Suite 1105; Peterson AFB, Colo., 80914-4500;
DSN 692-3731 or (719) 554-3731

Engage

Twitter
RT @DefenseOne: JOIN US TODAY @ 2 P.M. ET when our “State of Defense” series continues with a live interview featuring U.S. Air Force Chief…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Teaching service members how to effectively shoot weapons. That’s the job of Combat Arms Training and Management. Watch…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Team - 25 years ago today, we lost 24 U.S. & Canadian Airmen in the Yukla 27 crash. It was a surveillance training so…
Twitter
Taking care of Airmen and their families! https://t.co/AVeidzDPcV
Twitter
Wherever Airmen go, the Federal Voting Assistance Program ensures their voice is heard. @FVAP works to ensure servi… https://t.co/tkJts1yo3Z
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: For #HispanicHeritageMonth, we're celebrating the stories of Hispanic & Latino Airmen! @188thWG SSgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez…
Twitter
#TotalForce Airmen participate in night operations during a base-wide, total force exercise @HAFB. Airmen & pilots… https://t.co/kJYNKwHY7n
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: California fires/smoke no match for UTA Airmen - https://t.co/pJysQ6snRh (Story by the @940Wing) #ReserveReady #ReserveRes
Twitter
Whistleblowers are NOT insider threats. Learn the difference and how you can appropriately report questionable gove… https://t.co/AaTvBfHcTv
Twitter
SrA Denise Arabie, 319th Operations Support Squadron radar approach controller @319thRW, describes the importance o… https://t.co/zkwMx6Qw3i
Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,281,142
Follow Us