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June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) and the U.S. Navy have successfully completed an in-flight demonstration of a satellite communications (SATCOM) system that, if implemented, will enable F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircrews to conduct two-way, secure voice and data communications with other SATCOM-enabled aircraft, ships, ground forces and command centers.

The test took place May 23-30 at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division's Advanced Weapons Lab at China Lake, Calif., and was conducted by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-31.

The SATCOM system was installed on a Navy EA-18G Growler – a variant of the F/A-18F that includes a SATCOM antenna.

During the flight testing, the VX-31 aircrew conducted satellite-enabled secure voice and data transmissions with a ground-based team at China Lake and at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

"Using the existing EA-18G architecture allowed Boeing and the Navy to demonstrate this capability less than 90 days after the initial request," said Mike Gibbons, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president. "This approach significantly reduced risk, cost and testing schedule, while demonstrating this important communications capability for the Navy."

The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a low observable, multirole aircraft that performs virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. Boeing has delivered more than 480 F/A-18E/Fs to the U.S. Navy.  The F/A-18E/F has logged more than 166,000 combat flight hours supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Source: PR Newswire (

Orbital Successfully Launches Company-Built NuSTAR Satellite Aboard Pegasus Rocket for NASA

13 June 2012

Orbital Sciences Corporation announced that its Pegasus® rocket earlier today successfully launched the company-built Nuclear Spectroscopic Array Telescope (NuSTAR) satellite for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) into its intended orbit. Early results indicate that the NuSTAR satellite is operating as expected at this stage of its mission.

The Pegasus/NuSTAR mission originated from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site, Kwajalein Atoll, which is a part of the Marshall Islands in the mid-Pacific Ocean. Following a one-hour preplanned positioning flight, the Pegasus rocket was released from Orbital’s L-1011 carrier aircraft at approximately 12:00 p.m. (EDT). After a 13-minute powered flight sequence, Pegasus launched the 770 lb. NuSTAR satellite into its targeted circular orbit approximately 400 miles above the Earth.

Orbital designed, manufactured and tested the NuSTAR satellite at its Dulles, VA satellite manufacturing facility. The Pegasus rocket was assembled and tested at company facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. Today’s successful launch by the Pegasus rocket was the 27th consecutive successful mission for the Pegasus program over a 15-year period and the 41st overall flight of the company’s unique air-launched system since its introduction in 1990.

“We are very pleased to support NASA and JPL on this important scientific project,” said Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Launch Systems Group. “The NuSTAR program is another ‘dual’ mission for our launch vehicle and satellite engineering teams, building on our history of supporting successful NASA scientific programs such as AIM, GALEX, SORCE, ACRIMSAT and IBEX with our launch vehicles and satellite platforms.”