Thursday, February 09, 2012

Atlas 5 rocket topped with Navy's newest satellite

Blog Editor Note: We hope to have more information on this new DoD UHF mil comsat including active UHF downlinks after launch and testing is complete.


Looking towards launch next week to begin dramatically improving the capacity for U.S. military mobile communications, a new breed of satellite was hauled to the towering Atlas 5 rocket assembly building today for mounting atop the powerful booster.

The Navy's first Mobile User Objective System satellite, dubbed MUOS 1, is scheduled for blastoff next Thursday, Feb. 16, at sunset from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

You can read the entire Spaceflight Now article on the Navy's newest UHF satellite by
clicking here.

Mobile User Object System (MUOS) is a narrowband Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) system that supports a worldwide, multi-Service population of mobile and fixed-site terminal users in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band, providing increased communications capabilities to smaller terminals while still supporting interoperability to legacy terminals.

MUOS adapts a commercial third generation Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) cellular phone network architecture and combines it with geosynchronous satellites (in place of cell towers) to provide a new and more capable UHF MILSATCOM system. The constellation of four operational satellites and ground network control will provide greater than 10 times the system capacity of the current UHF Follow-On (UFO) constellation.

MUOS includes the satellite constellation, a ground control and network management system, and a new waveform for user terminals. The space portion is comprised of a constellation of four geosynchronous satellites, plus one on-orbit spare. The ground system includes the transport, network management, satellite control, and associated infrastructure to both fly the satellites and manage the user’s communications. MUOS and these newer terminals are designed to support users that require greater mobility, higher data rates, and improved operation availability. The new waveform is termed the MUOS Common Air Interface (CAI), a Software Communications Architecture compliant modulations technique for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) terminals. The MUOS CAI waveform will be available to the Services for porting to JTRS terminals in late 2008. The first MUOS satellite is scheduled to provide an On-Orbit Capability in March 2010. MUOS achieves Full Operational Capability in 2014.

The flow of information between users when MUOS is operational will be much different than today’s systems. Users will communicate with the satellite via UHF WCDMA links and the satellites will relay this to one of four ground sites located in Hawaii, Norfolk, Sicily, and Australia via a Ka-band feederlink. These ground sites are interconnected to switching and network management facilities located in Hawaii and Virginia. These facilities identify the destination of the communications and route the information to the appropriate ground site for Ka-band uplink to the satellite and UHF WCDMA downlink to the correct users.

The network management will feature a government controlled, priority-based resource management capability that will be adaptable and responsive to changing operational communication requirements. Additionally, MUOS will provide access to select Defense Information System Network services, a voice and data capability that has not been available to UHF MILSATCOM users on prior systems. For satellite telemetry, tracking and command, MUOS will use the existing control system operated by the NavalSatelliteOperationsCenter at Pt. Mugu, California with the Air Force Satellite Control Network as a back-up.

When MUOS is fielded it will serve a mixed terminal population. Some users will have terminals only able to support the legacy waveforms while other users will have newer terminal able to support the MUOS CAI. In anticipation of this, each MUOS satellite carries a legacy payload similar to that flown on UFO-11. These legacy payloads will continue to support legacy terminals, allowing for a more gradual transition to the MUOS WCDMA waveform.

General Characteristics:
Operator: US Navy
Contractors: Lockheed Martin (Prime), Boeing, General Dynamics

Wingspan: 92 Ft
Configuration: A2100M
Propulsion: IHI BT-4
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Bus Width: 14 Ft
Bus Height: 26 Ft
Weight: 6800 lbs Dry
Design Life: 15 Years
Satellite Power: 9.800 Watts
XMT Antenna diameter: 46 Ft
Orbits 22,236 miles above the Earth