MUOS satellite payload readies for launch

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. The Lockheed Martin-built Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite has been encapsulated into its payload fairing to get ready for a Feb. 16 liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on an Atlas V launch vehicle.

The spacecraft is a narrowband tactical system, which will replace the current Ultra High Frequency Follow-On system. The new satellite system provides new capabilities to mobile warfighters the current system.

MUOS is made up of five geostationary earth orbit () satellites -- including an on-orbit spare -- and a network connecting four ground stations across the globe. Each satellite will have dual payloads that upgrade military satellite users to the MUOS wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) system. It will also enable concurrent operations for existing legacy users.

MUOS will give mobile warfighters point-to-point and netted communications services with enhanced data rates and priority-based access to on-demand voice, data, and video transfers by making use of commercial 3G cell phone and satellite technology.

The MUOS program is run by the Navy Program Executive Office for Space Systems. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. is the lead system integrator and the prime contractor for the program.

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