Following the completion of successful on-orbit testing, the U.S. Navy accepted the fourth Lockheed Martin-built Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for Secure Communications Network. Launched September 2, the MUOS-4 is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces.
“The satellite joins MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and MUOS-3, launched respectively in 2012, 2013 and January 2015, and four required MUOS ground stations. MUOS-5, an on-orbit spare, also will be launched next year,”stated Lockheed Martin.
MUOS-4 is the penultimate satellite as part of the $7.3 billion, five satellite program slated to replace the 1990s-era Ultra High Frequency Follow-On (UFO) constellation. The new satellites promise ten times the transfer rates of the UFO net with speeds of up to 384 kbs. The fifth MUOS satellite that will function as a spare will launch sometime next year. The five MUOS satellites will plan to be used in conjunction with ground stations Hawaii, Italy, Western Australia and Chesapeake, Va.
For MUOS, Lockheed Martin is building on its proven record of providing progressively advanced spacecraft for protected, narrowband, and wideband military satellite communications. Lockheed Martin built the legacy Milstar protected communications satellites, as well as the Defense Satellite Communications Systems (DSCS) wideband communications spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force. Lockheed Martin is also the prime contractor on the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) program, a next-generation military satellite communications system to deliver vastly improved global, survivable, highly secure, protected communications capabilities for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms.
“The most dangerous part of a satellite’s life is launch and getting into orbit. I really want to thank our entire team whose hard work prepared MUOS-4 for this mission-critical event and the Atlas team who ultimately carried us safely to our transfer orbit,” said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. “We look forward to completing our on-orbit health checks and delivering this important asset to the U.S. Navy and these new capabilities to our mobile forces.”
While the network is well on its way, future radios that would use the constellation are far from settled.
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