45th SW launches 3rd Mobile User Objective System satellite

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  • 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
The 45th Space Wing successfully launched the third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, for the U.S. Navy on Jan. 20.

The United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V rocket flew in the 5-5-1 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

MUOS is the next generation narrowband military satellite communication system that supports a worldwide, multi-service population of users in the ultra-high frequency band. The system provides increased communications capabilities to smaller terminals while still supporting interoperability with legacy terminals. MUOS is designed to support users who require greater mobility, higher data rates and improved operational availability.

Col. Shawn Fairhurst, the 45th Space Wing vice commander, served as the Launch Decision Authority for this mission.

"Congratulations to team Patrick-Cape, our U.S. Navy partners, United Launch Alliance, Lockheed Martin and all our other mission partners for ensuring another successful mission -- our No. 1 priority here at the 45th Space Wing," Fairhurst said. "This was the second launch of approximately two dozen missions we have scheduled on the Eastern Range for 2015. The success of every mission is due to the teamwork of all involved."

MUOS-1 was placed into operational use for legacy terminal users in November 2012. MUOS-2 was launched in July 2013, and the next MUOS launch is planned for August 2015, according to the Navy Communications Satellite Program Office.

"We are very proud of the team and mission partners we have here," he said, "who flawlessly deliver vital space capabilities for our nation."

The system will undergo Multiservice Operational Test and Evaluation in December 2015 and will achieve Full Operational Capability in 2017.

MUOS adapts a commercial third generation Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) cellular technology with geosynchronous satellites to provide a new and more capable UHF military SATCOM system.

The MUOS program includes a satellite constellation of four operational satellites (plus one on-orbit spare), a ground control and network management system, and the new WCDMA waveform for user terminals.

In addition, MUOS will provide greater than 10 times the communications bandwidth capacity over the current UHF constellation.