The US Navy’s fifth and last Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite was launched June 24, 2016, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.
The MUOS-5 satellite launched at 8:30 a.m. EDT this morning aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. A Lockheed Martin-led initialization team, stationed at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, California, is operating the satellite from its transfer orbit to its test slot.
Over the next few days, MUOS-5 will transition to reach its geosynchronous orbit location approximately 22,000 miles (37,586 km) above the Earth. The satellite’s solar arrays and antennas will then be deployed, and on-orbit testing will start for subsequent turn-over to the Navy for test and commissioning to service.
The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office responsible for the MUOS program are based in San Diego. Lockheed Martin assembled and tested all five now-on-orbit MUOS satellites at its Sunnyvale, California, facility.
For the Navy, MUOS-5 completes a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with MUOS terminals will be able to seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the world and into the Global Information Grid, as well as into the Defense Switching Network.MUOS’ capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data over a secure high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.
“The launch of MUOS-5 is a major milestone. MUOS will be a game changer in communications for our service men and women on the front lines around the world,” said Mark Woempner, director of Narrowband Communications Systems at Lockheed Martin. “Now that the Navy’s constellation is complete, we will continue to work with our government and industry teammates to further refine MUOS based on user feedback. We are committed to bringing all of MUOS’ advanced capabilities to our warfighters.”
The MUOS network provides near-global coverage, including communications reach deep into polar regions. Once fully operational, the network will provide users with 16 times more communications capacity than the legacy system it will eventually replace.
Like its predecessors, the MUOS-5 satellite has two payloads to support both new Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) waveform capabilities, as well as the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite system. On orbit, MUOS-5 will augment the constellation as a WCDMA spare, while actively supporting the legacy UHF system, currently used by many mobile forces today.
MUOS is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based system designed to provide improved communications capabilities to users around the world, regardless of where they are in relation to a satellite, and will provide greater than ten times the bandwidth capacity compared with the current ultra-high frequency (UHF) constellation.
With near global coverage, thenetwork will support remote computer access, e-mail, short digital messaging, file and image transfer, and provide an interface for remote reception of sensor data.
MUOS offers 16 times the number of access points over the legacy system ensuring availability for prioritized calls while more users are on the system. once fully operational, the demand for MUOS is expected to grow rapidly.
While more MUOS-compatible terminals are in development, over 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.