The US Navy has launched its fifth mobile user objective system (MUOS-5) satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 evolved expendable launch vehicle (EELV) 551 from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The Lockheed Martin-built satellite, which has responded to subsequent commands, is being operated by the company’s team from the Naval Satellite Operations Center, Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, California, US.
Program Executive Officer Space Systems rear admiral Christian Becker said: "From the thousands of members of our industry team who built this amazing capability, to our air force partners who delivered us safely to orbit, to our army shipmates who are part of the team delivering end-to-end communications to the joint warfighter: Thank you!.
"We are looking forward to the continued successful shakedown of the system and full delivery into operations."
The MUOS-5 satellite is currently on its way towards its geosynchronous orbit location.
MUOS principal assistant programme manager commander Jason Pratt said: "MUOS-5 will be transitioning over the next nine days to reach its test slot 22,000 miles above the earth in a geosynchronous orbit.
"Once it has reached its location and deployed its arrays and antennas, on-orbit testing of the satellite will begin."
An Internet Protocol-based system, MUOS has been designed as a replacement to the ultra-high frequency (UHF) follow-on system and provides 16 times the capacity of the legacy system.
The system consists of five satellites, four ground stations across the globe, a network management system and an integrated wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) waveform.
The network aims to improve existing mobile satellite communications for soldiers on on-the-go missions.
The system’s WCDMA capability is currently in its test and evaluation stage.
The MUOS constellation and associated network is expected to extend narrowband communications availability beyond 2025.
Image: Atlas V launch vehicle carrying the US Navy’s fifth MUOS satellite. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo courtesy of United Launch Alliance/Released.