Navy's third high-bandwidth satellite ready for duty

MUOS-3 satellite

MUOS-3 before its launch in January.

The Navy’s high-powered new satellite communications system now covers about three-quarters of the globe, after the third of four planned satellites recently completed on-orbit testing and was accepted into service by the Navy.

The Mobile User Objective System satellite, MUOS-3, made by Lockheed Martin, was launched Jan. 20 and is now being moved to its on-orbit operational slot, the company announced. MUOS provides secure, high-speed, IP-based voice, video and mission data. The system is based on a direct sequence spread spectrum Wideband Code Division Multiple Access waveform with adaptive power control that delivers a 16-fold increase in transmission throughput over the current Ultra High Frequency satellite system.

The first two satellites in the system, launched in 2012 and 2013, were tested last year during the Navy’s 2014 Ice Exercise in the Arctic Circle, where it provided almost 150 hours of secure connections and allowed military users, for the first time, to transfer multi-megabyte files over a satellite system. Users were able to connect to both classified and unclassified networks.

MUOS-4 is expected to be launched later this year, completing the constellation and providing near-global coverage, which will also be available to the other military services, Lockheed said. The company in February also delivered the last of MUOS four ground stations to the Navy.

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