[Via Satellite 12-26-2014] Lockheed Martin reports the third Mobile User Objective System satellite (MUOS 3) is encapsulated in its payload fairing for a Jan. 20, 2015 launch. United Launch Alliance (ULA) is contracted to launch the U.S. Navy satellite aboard an Atlas 5 rocket.
The first two satellites, MUOS 1 and MUOS 2, launched in 2012 and 2013 respectively and are operational today. Lockheed Martin VP of Narrowband Communications Iris Bombelyn said the launch of MUOS 3 will increase the system’s network coverage to approximately three quarters of the globe. The fourth MUOS satellite is scheduled to launch later in 2015.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for MUOS, which replaces the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Follow-On system. According to the company, the fully operational MUOS constellation will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system. Recently Lockheed Martin opened a radio terminal development and certification facility to retrofit terminals with MUOS’ advanced Wideband Code Division Access (WCDMA) waveform.