Navy Successfully Launches Next Generation Communications Satellite
Navy's first Mobile User Objective System satellite was launched Feb.
24 from Space Launch Complex 41. MUOS is a next-generation narrowband
tactical communications system designed to improve communications for
U.S. forces on the move. MUOS will provide military users simultaneous
voice, video and data capability by leveraging 3G mobile communications
Born from the need for stable, 24/7 ship-to-shore communication that
could be successful regardless of environments and geographical conditions,
the Navy is responsible for providing narrowband satellite communication
for the Department of Defense.
"MUOS' top requirements include capacity, coverage and link
availabilities. It will provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week global
coverage," said Navy Capt. Paul Ghyzel, MUOS program manager. "The
ability for a warfighter to make a telephone call over a MUOS terminal
and send data at 10 times more capacity than they can now will be a
For the Navy MUOS team, many of whom have spent years on the program,
the successful launch is just the beginning of work to come. "We
are very excited to see this milestone today. It's the end of one phase
and the beginning of another," said Navy Cmdr. Jeff King, a MUOS
systems engineer who worked on the program for three years.
King explained that upon separation from the launch vehicle the satellite
will stay in a temporary orbital slot for initial testing.
Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-41
the U.S. Navy Mobile User Objective System-1 (MUOS-1) satellite.
(Picture: U.S. Navy photo by Pat Corkery)
"The satellite will spend the next several
months in its geostationary orbit and be thoroughly checked out by the
combined government and contractor team before being turned over for
Operational use, also known as initial operational capability, for the
first MUOS satellite is expected in summer 2012. Control of the satellite
will then be turned over to the Naval Satellite Operations Command in
Point Mugu, Calif.
Ultimately, the MUOS constellation will consist of four satellites and
an on-orbit spare. The system also includes four ground stations strategically
located around the globe, which provide worldwide coverage and the ability
to connect users wherever they are. The ground system transports data,
manages the worldwide network and controls the satellites.
With today's narrowband communication system, users have to be stationary
with an antenna up and pointed toward a satellite.
"With MUOS they'll be able to move around the battlespace,"
said King. "They'll be able to communicate to users on the other
side of a mountain or the other side of the world."
Beyond providing continuous communication for all branches of the U.S.
military, Navy provided space-based narrowband capability also ensures
reliable worldwide coverage for national emergency assistance, disaster
response and humanitarian relief.
The MUOS constellation is expected to achieve full operational capability
in 2015, extending narrowband availability well past 2025.
Today's launch was originally scheduled for Feb. 16 and again Feb. 22,
both canceled and rescheduled due to unfavorable weather conditions.
The program is managed by the Navy's Program Executive Office for Space
Systems, Chantilly, Va., and its Communications Satellite Program Office
in San Diego.