The US Navy’s Lockheed Martin-built second mobile user objective system (MUOS-2) satellite has been launched successfully aboard the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, US.
The MUOS-2 launch has marked a significant step in offering improved satellite communications for the US Navy and US Department of Defense (DoD).
The MUOS principal assistant programme manager and navy commander Matt Bohlin said the team is aligning the MUOS-2 launch with the ground system, networking software and the waveform.
"Users are going to notice more bandwidth that is accessible on demand as opposed to preplanned channels, better voice quality and better connectivity, while not being impacted by remote regions, urban environments or inclement weather," Bohlin said.
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Following its transition to geosynchronous orbit location, the team will deploy solar arrays and antennas, conducting on-orbit testing to validate the full system for subsequent service commissioning.
Capable of enhancing beyond-line-of-sight communications for US forces on the move, while replacing existing ultra-high-frequency follow-on (UFO) system, the single MUOS will provide four times the capability that is being provided by the entire UFO constellation of eight satellites for the US Navy.
Launched in February 2012, the MUOS-1 satellite was accepted for operational use by US Strategic Command in November 2012, and has provided high-quality voice communications for users.
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 is scheduled to achieve full operational capability in 2015, while extending narrowband availability beyond 2025.
Image: US Navy’s MUOS-2 satellite being launched from Atlas V rocket. Photo: U.S. Navy photo courtesy of NASA.