Lockheed moves MUOS-2 satellite closer to July launch

Lockheed Martin has completed the required system testing on the second satellite in the U.S. Navy's Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), and has placed the satellite in temporary storage before its scheduled launch in July, the company said Jan. 16.

In the spring, the company will remove the satellite from storage, perform final spacecraft component installations and conduct a final factory confidence test in Sunnyvale, Calif., before shipping MUOS-2 to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for its launch aboard an Atlas V rocket.

The MUOS constellation will provide significantly improved and secure communications for mobile warfighters, including simultaneous voice, video and data services, the company said.

MUOS satellites are equipped with a Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) payload that provides a 16-fold increase in transmission throughput over the current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite system. Lockheed Martin announced completion and delivery of the waveform earlier this month.

Each MUOS satellite also includes a legacy UHF payload that is fully compatible with the existing UHF Follow-on system and legacy terminals, the company said. The dual-payload design ensures a smooth transition to the next-generation WCDMA technology while the UFO system is phased out.

The first MUOS satellite, which was launched February 24, 2012, and the associated ground system are currently providing legacy on-orbit capability, the company said. The five-satellite, global constellation is expected to achieve full operational capability in 2015, Lockheed Martin said.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the MUOS prime contractor and system integrator. The Navy's Program Executive Office for Space Systems, Chantilly, Va., and its Communications Satellite Program Office, San Diego, Calif., are responsible for the MUOS program.

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