Lockheed Martin announced July 17 that it has completed on-orbit testing of the first Mobile User Objective System satellite, designated MUOS-1, paving the way for the U.S. Navy’s multi-service operational test and evaluation phase in preparation for the start of operations in August 2012.
“The successful on-orbit checkout of this revolutionary satellite is a great testament to the close coordination and partnership between the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin team,” said Mark Valerio, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Military Space line of business. “This event is another major milestone in our commitment to provide unparalleled communications capabilities that put mission-critical, real-time information in the hands of our mobile warfighters.”
MUOS-1 was launched Feb. 24, 2012, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. A next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system, MUOS will provide significantly improved and secure communications for mobile war fighters, including simultaneous voice, video and data.
“The team successfully completed this critical on-orbit test phase in an effective and efficient manner to support our customer’s program schedule,” said Mark Pasquale, who oversaw the spacecraft test phase as Lockheed Martin vice president and MUOS program manager. “The satellite is exceeding all performance requirements as a result of the disciplined flight-like test program it was subjected to in the factory prior to launch.”
MUOS satellites are equipped with a wideband code division multiple access payload that provides a 16-fold increase in transmission throughput over the current Ultra High Frequency satellite system, including global connectivity through the Defense Information Systems Network and support services such as full two-way voice and data transfers.
Lockheed Martin’s MUOS operations team conducted the on-orbit deployment and checkout of all spacecraft systems over a three-month period, with both payloads passing a series of rigorous on-orbit tests with existing UHF ground systems and new WCDMA test terminals.
A single MUOS satellite will provide four times the capacity of the entire UFO constellation of 8 satellites. Each MUOS satellite also includes a legacy UHF payload that is fully compatible with the current UHF Follow-on system and legacy terminals. This dual-payload design ensures a smooth transition to the cutting-edge WCDMA technology while the UFO system is phased out.
The first MUOS satellite and associated ground system will provide initial on-orbit capability this year, followed by the launch of the second spacecraft in 2013. The five-satellite global constellation is expected to achieve full operational capability in 2015, extending UHF narrowband communications availability to the armed forces well past 2025.
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.