U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin to launch MUOS-4 secure communications satellite August 31

MUOS 4 112The U.S. Navy and Bethesda, MD-based Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, here on Monday, August 31, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The launch window is between 6:07 a.m. and 6:51 a.m. EDT.

We continue to monitor Tropical Storm Erika for potential impact to launch.

WATCH LIVE: A live launch broadcast will begin at 5:47 a.m. EDT and will be viewable as an online webcast at www.ulalaunch.com. Broadcasters can also receive the live launch by following these instructions.  

Early-rising Californians may be particularly interested in the webcast to watch one of their “hometown” satellites launch live. 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, California 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. Users with operational MUOS terminals can seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the globe and into the Global Information Grid. MUOS’ new smart phone-like capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, over a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

“MUOS-4’s delivery for the U.S. Navy completes the initial MUOS constellation and provides near-global coverage for the network, allowing mobile forces to communicate for the first time literally around the world,” said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. “This year has already been a big year for MUOS with the launch of MUOS-3 in January, followed by our delivery of the last required relay ground station in February. Our team has worked tirelessly, around the clock, but it is gratifying to know we are providing our mobile forces with all the communications capabilities they deserve to keep them out of harm’s way.”

In June, Lockheed Martin shipped  the completed MUOS-4 satellite from California to the Cape, where technicians encapsulated it in its protective launch fairing earlier this month.

The MUOS network, which also supports the existing ultra high frequency communications satellite system, will provide 16 times the capacity of the legacy system and eventually replace it. MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and MUOS-3 are already on orbit and all four required MUOS ground stations are complete. MUOS-5, an on-orbit Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) spare with additional legacy system capability, is expected to launch in 2016.

More than 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.

Source: Lockheed Martin