AEHF-1 Recovery Team wins 2012 Aviation Week Laureate Award
By Candy Knight, SMC Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate
/ Published March 15, 2012
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Advanced Extremely High Frequency Flight-1 Recovery Team received the Aviation Week & Space Technology's 2012 Laureate Award in the Defense category, during the 55th Annual Laureate Awards ceremony, held March 7, in Washington, D.C.
The Laureate Awards recognize individuals and teams for their extraordinary accomplishments and achievements symbolizing exploration, innovation, and vision. The AEHF-1 Recovery Team was nominated for their successful planning and execution of an innovative 14-month orbit raising campaign and mission-saving recovery of the $1.7 billion, first-of-its-kind AEHF-1 satellite.
David Madden, director, Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate, accepted the award on behalf of the team. "This was all about the teamwork we had with the 14th Air Force; 50th Space Wing; Space and Missile Systems Center team; the Headquarters Air Force Space Command team; the Aerospace team we had as our partners on the technical side; and our industry partner, Lockheed-Martin, who built us a system that even when we had a failure, we were able to figure out how to recover this system," Madden said.
Shortly after launch Aug. 14, 2010, an anomaly with the liquid apogee engine left the satellite stranded in the wrong orbit. Over the next 14 months, the combined Air Force, Lockheed-Martin, and Aerospace Corporation team planned and executed an innovative and complex operation using the satellite's two lower thrust engine types to boost the satellite into its correct orbit.
AEHF-1 successfully reached geosynchronous orbit Oct. 24, 2011. With the team's keen focus on satellite safety and fuel efficiency during the orbit transfer strategy, the satellite successfully completed initial on-orbit testing, and is projected to provide a full 14 years of operational service life.
"It is phenomenal to see the technically innovative efforts of the entire team recognized at this very prestigious event," said Madden. "Our greatest satisfaction comes in seeing this impressive, fully-functional warfighting capability successfully delivered to orbit."