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Lockheed Martin completes on-orbit testing of first MUOS satellite

18th July 2012 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Lockheed Martin has announced it has completed on-orbit testing of the first Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite, designated MUOS-1, paving the way for the US Navy's multi-service operational test and evaluation phase in preparation for the start of operations in August.

A next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system, MUOS-1 was launched on 24 February and will provide significantly improved and secure communications for mobile warfighters, 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 programme schedule,’ Mark Pasquale, Lockheed Martin vice president and MUOS programme manager, said in a 17 July statement.

‘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 (WCDMA) payload that provides a 16-fold increase in transmission throughput over the current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite system, including global connectivity through the Defense Information Systems Network and support services such as full two-way voice and data transfers. 

According to Lockheed Martin, the 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 statement said.

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 past 2025. 

The Shephard News Team


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