The US Navy and Lockheed Martin have delivered the third mobile-user objective system (MUOS) spacecraft to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US, as part of efforts to prepare it for its scheduled launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in January 2015.
Operating as a smartphone cell tower in the sky, the MUOS aims to improve the existing mobile satellite communications for soldiers on the go.
Lockheed Martin Narrowband Communications vice-president Iris Bombelyn said: "The delivery of MUOS-3 is an important step toward enabling our warfighters to be able to pick up the phone to seamlessly call or transfer data anywhere around the world."
Upon being launched, users of the MUOS wideband code division multiple-access technology will be able to transmit and receive voice and data through an internet protocol-based system.
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"With the launch of the third satellite in the constellation, to be followed later in 2015 by the fourth, MUOS will be in place to provide pole-to-pole and global, secure communications for the warfighter," Bombelyn added.
The spacecraft will have to complete post-shipment testing, followed by fuelling of its propulsion system and encapsulation within the launch vehicle’s payload fairing, which will then be incorporated into an Atlas V rocket for final testing and close-out measures for launch.
The US Navy’s MUOS-1 and MUOS-2 were launched in 2012 and 2013, respectively. They are currently operational and successfully connected users near the Arctic poles during independent tests.
Image: MUOS spacecraft being loaded. Photo: courtesy of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.