August 31, 2015 – The U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy are scheduled to launch the fourth Lockheed Martin built Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) secure communications satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on September 2. The 44-minute launch window opens at 5:59 a.m. EDT.
The launch was originally scheduled for today, but was postponed due to weather from Tropical Storm Erika. The weather outlook for Wednesday is currently 70% favorable.
A live launch broadcast will begin at 5:39 a.m. EDT and will be viewable as an online webcast.
MUOS-4, built by Lockheed Martin, is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure satellite communications for mobile U.S. military forces. MUOS works like a smartphone network in space, providing troops with global, on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality voice and mission data on 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.”
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.
Lockheed Martin manufactured MUOS-4 at their Sunnyvale, California facility. Earlier this summer, the satellite shipped to the Cape, where it was pre-launch processed and finally encapsulated at Astrotech Space Operations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.