The US Navy has received the first Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite from Lockheed Martin at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US.
The satellite will undergo shipment testing, fuelling and payload fairing encapsulation in preparation for its scheduled launch aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle on 16 February 2012.
The MUOS satellite is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system, which will provide enhanced communications for combatants while on the move.
The MUOS system includes a fibre-optic terrestrial network connecting four ground stations around the globe and four geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellites with an additional on-orbit spare.
The system ensures users receive the required technological advancements during necessary system upgrades by supporting legacy UHF Satcom terminals and joint tactical radio system terminals.
The two MUOS payloads will enable integration with the existing architecture while upgrading military users to the new wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) system.
MUOS will replace the existing ultra-high-frequency follow-on (UFO) system to provide assured communications and future narrowband tactical satellite communications and the latest mobile technology.
Lockheed Martin vice-president and MUOS programme manager Mark Pasquale said: "The system will provide military users with 16 times the communications capacity of existing satellites, including simultaneous voice, video and data capability enhancements."
Currently, the second MUOS space vehicle is undergoing environmental testing to ensure its performance in a simulated space environment, while the third and fourth MUOS satellites are in production stages.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor and system integrator, and the team includes General Dynamics C4 Systems and Boeing Defense, Space and Security.