CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin announced that the fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite has finally reached orbit following a propulsion anomaly that occurred after launch earlier this year.
Originally launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on June 24, MUOS-5 experienced an anomaly with its orbit raising propulsion system on its way to geosynchronous orbit on June 29. Out of caution, the Navy and Lockheed Martin engineering team immediately placed the satellite in a safe mode in transfer orbit as they investigated and examined their options.
“In the end, the Navy and Lockheed Martin engineering team were able to isolate the issue and develop a work-around using alternative propulsion,” said Mark Woempner, director of Narrowband Communications Systems at Lockheed Martin. “Once we had a plan together, in early October we carefully re-started orbit raising maneuvers.”
MUOS-5 completed orbit raising on October 22, and successfully deployed its solar arrays for power generation and its antennas for mission operations on October 30. The satellite will begin on-orbit testing on November 3 before being turned over to the Navy for further testing and eventual commissioning into service.
“We are very proud of the commitment our team members demonstrated,” said Capt. Joe Kan, program manager for the Navy Communications Satellite Program Office. “Working together with industry, we were able to execute an alternative propulsion method to maneuver MUOS-5 to reach a position that is operationally suitable.”
MUOS-5 will complete a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with MUOS-capable terminals will be able to seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the world and into the Global Information Grid, as well as into the Defense Switched Network. MUOS’ capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data over a secure high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.
The MUOS network provides near-global coverage, including communications reach deep into polar regions. Once fully operational, the network will provide users with 16 times more communications capacity than the legacy system it will eventually replace.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin