The U.S. Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-4) satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, is talking from space to the satellite control team at the Naval Spacecraft Operations Control facility here after its Florida launch this morning, the company announced in a Sept. 2 release.
MUOS-4 will enable near-global coverage for a new secure military communications network offering enhanced capabilities for mobile forces. The MUOS-4 satellite launched Sept. 2 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. A Lockheed Martin-led initialization team, stationed at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif., is operating the satellite from its transfer orbit to its test slot.
The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office responsible for the MUOS program are based in San Diego. Lockheed Martin assembled and tested MUOS-4 at its Sunnyvale, Calif., facility.
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, write Sea Power magazine. Users with MUOS terminals can seamlessly connect beyond satellite line-of-sight around the globe and into the Global Information Grid. MUOS’ new smart phone-like capabilities include simultaneous voice, video and mission data over a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.
The addition of MUOS-4 completes the initial setup and provides the MUOS network with near-global coverage, extending the reach of communications further toward the North and South poles than ever before.
On September 2nd, the MUOS-4 satellite separated from its Atlas V rocket approximately three hours after its successful launch.
Over the next few days, MUOS-4 will transition to reach its geosynchronous orbit location approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth. The satellite’s solar arrays and antennas will then be deployed, and on-orbit testing will start for subsequent turn-over to the Navy for test and commissioning to service, writes Sea Power magazine.
Once fully operational, the MUOS network will provide 16 times the capacity of the legacy ultra-high frequency communications satellite system.
The MUOS-4 satellite joins a network, which already includes MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and MUOS-3, launched respectively in 2012, 2013 and January, and four required MUOS ground stations already completed.