Lockheed Martin has successfully completed environmental testing of the third mobile user objective system (MUOS) satellite for the US Navy.
During environmental testing, the satellite was subjected to extreme hot and cold temperatures in a vacuum at Lockheed Martin's dual-entry large thermal altitude chamber, simulating the environments that the satellite will experience throughout its operational life.
Lockheed Martin narrowband communications vice-president Iris Bombelyn said: "We are committed to quality and our rigorous environmental testing regimen ensures this system is ready for the harsh environments of space.
"It's important to check out every aspect of the satellite at this stage so we can prepare it for service.
"We are on track for delivering the third MUOS satellite to the Navy this year."
Recently, the MUOS-3 completed thermal vacuum trials and validated its performance in simulated space conditions, and the satellite is now in final check-out.
Equipped with a wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) payload that leverages commercial cell phone technology, the MUOS provides a ten-fold increase in communications capacity, compared with the current legacy ultrahigh frequency (UHF) system.
Lockheed is the prime contractor and system integrator, while the US Navy's Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office are responsible for the MUOS programme.
The MUOS constellation comprises four satellites and an on-orbit spare, as well as four ground stations, to provide users with worldwide coverage and the ability to connect anywhere.
The third MUOS satellite is scheduled to be launched by the US Navy in January 2015.
Image: Illustration of MUOS satellite. Photo: copyright Lockheed Martin Corporation.