USA-214, known before launch as Advanced Extremely High Frequency 1 or AEHF SV-1, is a military communications satellite
Communications satellite
A communications satellite is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purpose of telecommunications...

 operated by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. It is the first of four spacecraft to be launched as part of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency
Advanced Extremely High Frequency
Advanced Extremely High Frequency is a series of communications satellites operated by the United States Air Force Air Force Space Command. The spacecraft will be used to relay secure communications for the Armed Forces of the United States, the British Armed Forces, the Canadian Forces and the...

 programme, which will replace the earlier Milstar system.

The USA-214 spacecraft was constructed by Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

, and is based around the A2100
The A2100 is a communications satellite spacecraft made by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for telecommunications in geosynchronous orbit.The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed for a variety of telecommunications needs including Ka band broadband and broadcast...

 satellite bus
Satellite bus
A satellite bus or spacecraft bus is the general model on which multiple-production satellite spacecraft are often based. The bus is the infrastructure of a spacecraft, usually providing locations for the payload .They are most commonly used for geosynchronous satellites, particularly...

. The spacecraft has a mass of 6168 kilograms (13,598.1 lb) and a design life of 14 years. It will be used to provide super high frequency
Super high frequency
Super high frequency refers to radio frequencies in the range of 3 GHz and 30 GHz. This band of frequencies is also known as the centimetre band or centimetre wave as the wavelengths range from ten to one centimetres....

 and extremely high frequency
Extremely high frequency
Extremely high frequency is the highest radio frequency band. EHF runs the range of frequencies from 30 to 300 gigahertz, above which electromagnetic radiation is considered to be low infrared light, also referred to as terahertz radiation...

 communications for the armed forces of the United States, as well as those of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, and Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...


USA-214 was launched by United Launch Alliance
United Launch Alliance
United Launch Alliance is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA was formed in December 2006 by combining the teams at these companies which provide spacecraft launch services to the government of the United States. U.S...

, using an Atlas V
Atlas V
Atlas V is an active expendable launch system in the Atlas rocket family. Atlas V was formerly operated by Lockheed Martin, and is now operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance...

 531 carrier rocket flying from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is an installation of the United States Air Force Space Command's 45th Space Wing, headquartered at nearby Patrick Air Force Base. Located on Cape Canaveral in the state of Florida, CCAFS is the primary launch head of America's Eastern Range with four launch pads...

. The launch occurred at 11:07 UTC on 14 August 2010, and resulted in the spacecraft being deployed successfully into a geosynchronous transfer orbit with a perigee
An apsis , plural apsides , is the point of greatest or least distance of a body from one of the foci of its elliptical orbit. In modern celestial mechanics this focus is also the center of attraction, which is usually the center of mass of the system...

 of 221 kilometres (137.3 mi), an apogee
An apsis , plural apsides , is the point of greatest or least distance of a body from one of the foci of its elliptical orbit. In modern celestial mechanics this focus is also the center of attraction, which is usually the center of mass of the system...

 of 50179 kilometres (31,179.9 mi), and 22.2 degrees of inclination
Inclination in general is the angle between a reference plane and another plane or axis of direction.-Orbits:The inclination is one of the six orbital parameters describing the shape and orientation of a celestial orbit...


The spacecraft was intended to manoeuvre from the transfer orbit into which it was launched to its operational geosynchronous orbit
Geosynchronous orbit
A geosynchronous orbit is an orbit around the Earth with an orbital period that matches the Earth's sidereal rotation period...

 by means of a liquid-fueled apogee motor and several Hall effect thruster
Hall effect thruster
In spacecraft propulsion, a Hall thruster is a type of ion thruster in which the propellant is accelerated by an electric field. Hall thrusters trap electrons in a magnetic field and then use the electrons to ionize propellant, efficiently accelerate the ions to produce thrust, and neutralize the...

s. The apogee motor malfunctioned shortly after ignition for its first burn on 15 August 2010, and following another failure on 17 August it was declared inoperable. , controllers planned to use the spacecraft's Hall-effect low-thrust manoeuvring engines to raise its orbit in place of the failed apogee motor, however, due to their low thrust, this was expected to take up to nine months to reach geosynchronous orbit. Nominally it takes 105 days.

See also

  • 2010 in spaceflight
    2010 in spaceflight
    The year 2010 saw a number of notable events in spaceflight. These included the first test flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which is intended to conduct commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, and the...

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