A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for the U.S. Navy launched from Space Launch Complex-41 at 6:18 a.m. EDT on September 2, 2015. The MUOS-4 spacecraft will bring advanced, new, global communications capabilities to mobile military forces, as well as ensure continued mission capability of the existing Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite communications system. This is ULA’s eighth launch in 2015, the second MUOS satellite launched in 2015 and ULA’s 99th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
«The ULA team is proud to support the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force by delivering this critical communications asset to orbit today», said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. «Today’s successful launch will enable the MUOS constellation to reach global coverage. The Lockheed Martin-built MUOS-4 satellite will deliver voice, data, and video communications capability, similar to a cellular network, to our troops all over the globe».
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 551 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter payload fairing along with five Aerojet Rocketdyne solid rocket motors attached to the Atlas booster. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine.
The U.S. Navy’s MUOS is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system designed using a combination of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations to significantly improve communications for U.S. forces on the move. MUOS will provide new beyond-line-of-sight communications capabilities, with smartphone-like simultaneous voice, video and data – to connect military users almost anywhere around the globe.
ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V Morelos-3, communications satellite for Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes, a government agency of Mexico, scheduled for October 2 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 95 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.