The U.S. Space Force’s 4th Space Operations Squadron has officially retired and placed in a disposal orbit a satellite designed to provide high-volume, secure voice and data communications, due to the culmination of its operational life.
The Lockheed Martin-built Defense Satellite Communications Systems III satellite B7 spent nearly three decades working as part of a geosynchronous orbit military satellite constellation to provide high-priority communication capabilities to the Department of Defense, the Space Force said Wednesday.
B7’s retirement began in October when the Space Operations Command took over the responsibility of the satellite from U.S. Space Command.
Col. Jay Steingold, chief of the SATCOM Mission Area Team chief, said B7 will remain in the supersynchronous orbit “until new methods are developed to address the issue of space junk permanently.”
Launched in 1995, B7 surpassed its initial 10-year design life by 15 years. The Space Force attributed the satellite’s extended service life to its engineers and operators.