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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

AEHF 1.jpg
Artist's impression of an AEHF-3 satellite
Advanced Extremely High Frequency-3
Mission typeMilitary communications
OperatorUnited States Air Force / United States Space Force
COSPAR ID2013-050A
SATCAT no.39256
Mission duration14 years (planned)
7 years, 11 months and 5 days (in progress)
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLockheed Martin Space
Launch mass6,168 kg (13,598 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date18 September 2013,
08:10:00 UTC
RocketAtlas V 531 (AV-041)
Launch siteCape Canaveral, SLC-41
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeosynchronous orbit
← AEHF-2
AEHF-4 →

USA-246, also known as Advanced Extremely High Frequency 3 or AEHF-3, is a military communications satellite operated by the United States Air Force. It is the third of six satellites to be launched as part of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency program, which replaced the earlier Milstar system.[1]


The USA-246 satellite was constructed by Lockheed Martin Space, and is based on the A2100 satellite bus. The satellite has a mass of 6,168 kg (13,598 lb) and a design life of 14 years.[2] It will be used to provide super high frequency (SHF) and extremely high frequency (EHF) communications for the United States Armed Forces, as well as those of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Canada.[1]


Launch of AEHF-3 on an Atlas V
Launch of AEHF-3 on an Atlas V

USA-246 was launched by United Launch Alliance, aboard an Atlas V 531 flying from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). After a number of weather-related delays, the launch occurred at 08:10:00 UTC on 18 September 2013,[3] placing the satellite in a parking orbit of 178 kilometers by 1,041 kilometers. A second burn placed the satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) with a perigee of 225 km (140 mi), an apogee of 50,051 km (31,100 mi), and 20.52° inclination.[4] The satellite was successfully deployed in this orbit 50 minutes after launch.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "AEHF-3 Mission Overview" (PDF). United Launch Alliance. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  2. ^ "AEHF 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6". Gunter's Space Page. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  3. ^ Graham, William (17 September 2013). "ULA Atlas V launches with AEHF-3 satellite". Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  4. ^ "JSR No.686". 23 September 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
This page was last edited on 18 May 2021, at 02:17
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