Tag Archives: Ula

MUOS-5 Satellite

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the MUOS-5 satellite for the U.S. Navy. The rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. EDT. MUOS-5 is the final satellite in the five-satellite constellation, which provides warfighters with significantly improved and assured communications worldwide.

Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, June 24
Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, June 24

«We are honored to deliver the final satellite in the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) constellation for the U.S. Navy», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president, Custom Services. «Congratulations to our navy, air force and Lockheed Martin mission partners on yet another successful launch that provides our warfighters with enhanced communications capabilities to safely and effectively conduct their missions around the globe».

MUOS-5, like the four satellites in orbit, will carry two payloads in a single spacecraft. One will provide new Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) waveforms with greater capabilities, and one that supports the legacy Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communications systems in wide use among U.S. and international militaries and civil aviation.

In the new satellite, however, only the UHF system will be activated. The wideband function will provide the assurance of a spare in case anything happens to one of the other satellites.

In addition to the five satellites, the MUOS contract with an industry team led by Lockheed Martin also includes four large ground stations in Australia, Italy, Hawaii and the eastern U.S.; the WCDMA waveform; the receiving terminals; and the software to manage the systems.

The Navy's fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is encapsulated inside an Atlas V five-meter diameter payload fairing
The Navy’s fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is encapsulated inside an Atlas V five-meter diameter payload fairing

The mission was ULA’s fifth launch in 2016 and 108th launch since the company formed in 2006. MUOS-5 was the seventh mission to be launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 551 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter payload fairing and five solid rocket boosters. 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.

«I am so proud of the team for all their hard work and commitment to 100 percent mission success», Maginnis said. «It is amazing to deliver our second national security payload from the Cape in just two weeks. I know this success is due to our amazing people who make the remarkable look routine».

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V NROL-61 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office, scheduled for July 28 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 100 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.

United Launch Alliance’s live broadcast of the Atlas V rocket launching the fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) mission for the U.S. Navy

New L5 signals

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-11 satellite for the U.S. Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 (Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida) October 31 at 12:13 p.m. EDT. GPS IIF-11 is one of the next-generation GPS satellites that incorporate numerous improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals and enhanced performance for users.

An Atlas V rocket, with the GPS IIF-11 satellite
An Atlas V rocket, with the GPS IIF-11 satellite

«Congratulations to the entire team on today’s successful launch of the GPS IIF-11 satellite! Today’s launch was made possible by the exceptional performance and teamwork exhibited by the entire team, including the men and women of ULA, our many mission partners, and our U.S. Air Force customer», said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. «GPS is omnipresent in our everyday lives and the system provides a critical service to the all of those serving in our military around the world. All of the operational GPS satellites have been launched on Atlas and Delta rockets and the U.S. Air Force does an outstanding job of operating this essential system».

This mission was ULA’s 11th launch in 2015 and the 102nd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter-diameter payload fairing. 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.

GPS IIF-11 will join the GPS worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 nautical miles/12,656 miles/20,372 km above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.

As a result of increased civil and commercial use as well as experience in military operations, the USAF has added the following capabilities and technologies to the GPS IIF series to sustain the space and control segments while improving mission performance:

  • Two times greater predicted signal accuracy than heritage satellites;
  • New L5 signals for more robust civil and commercial aviation;
  • An on-orbit, reprogrammable processor, receiving software uploads for improved system operation;
  • Military signal «M-code» and variable power for better resistance to jamming hostile meeting the needs of emerging doctrines of navigation warfare.

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V OA-4 capsule for Orbital ATK scheduled for December 3 from Space Launch Complex-41 from 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.

GPS IIF series satellite is encapsulated inside an Atlas V 4-meter payload fairing
GPS IIF series satellite is encapsulated inside an Atlas V 4-meter payload fairing

 

An Atlas V rocket launches GPS IIF-11, the penultimate GPS IIF satellite, for the United States Air Force

Global coverage

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.

An Atlas V rocket with the Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-4)
An Atlas V rocket with the Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-4)

«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.

An Atlas V rocket carrying the MUOS-4 mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41
An Atlas V rocket carrying the MUOS-4 mission lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41

MUOS-4 Encapsulated

The fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy was encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing August 10. It is scheduled to launch August 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, has been encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing for its August 31 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)
MUOS-4, the next satellite scheduled to join the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System secure communications network, has been encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing for its August 31 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)

MUOS-4 is the latest addition to a network of orbiting satellites and relay ground stations that is revolutionizing secure communications for mobile military forces. Users with operational MUOS terminals can seamlessly connect beyond line-of-sight around the globe and into the Global Information Grid. MUOS’ new smart phone-like capabilities include simultaneous, crystal-clear voice, video and mission data, over a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

«Delivery of this fourth satellite for the U.S. Navy completes the initial MUOS constellation and provides near-global coverage for the network», said Iris Bombelyn, vice president of Narrowband Communications at Lockheed Martin. «For our mobile forces, that means for the first time they will be able to have secure, high-fidelity voice conversations, networked team calls and data exchange, including video, with anyone around the world connected with a MUOS terminal».

MUOS, which also supports the legacy ultra-high frequency communications satellite system, will provide comparatively 16 times the capacity of the legacy system and eventually replace it. The MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and MUOS-3 satellites launched respectively in 2012, 2013 and January 2015. All four required MUOS ground stations are complete. MUOS-5, an on-orbit Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) spare with additional legacy system capability, is expected to launch in 2016.

More than 55,000 currently fielded radio terminals can be upgraded to be MUOS-compatible, with many of them requiring just a software upgrade.

Lockheed Martin manufactured MUOS-4 at the prime contractor’s Sunnyvale, California facility. Earlier this summer, the satellite shipped to the Cape, where it was pre-launch processed and finally encapsulated at Astrotech Space Operations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems and its Communications Satellite Program Office, San Diego, California, are responsible for the MUOS program.

MUOS-4 will complete near-global coverage for U.S. Navy’s new military smart phone-like network (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)
MUOS-4 will complete near-global coverage for U.S. Navy’s new military smart phone-like network (photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)

Orbital Test Vehicle

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the Air Force Space Command 5 (AFSPC-5) satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 11:05 a.m. EDT on May 20, 2015 from Space Launch Complex-41. The rocket carried the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle or OTV, a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force.

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the AFSPC-5 satellite for the U.S. Air Force from Space Launch Complex-41. This is ULA’s fifth launch in 2015 and the 96th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the AFSPC-5 satellite for the U.S. Air Force from Space Launch Complex-41. This is ULA’s fifth launch in 2015 and the 96th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006

«ULA is honored to launch this unique spacecraft for the U.S Air Force. Congratulations to the Air Force and all of our mission partners on today’s successful launch! The seamless integration between the Air Force, Boeing, and the entire mission team culminated in today’s successful launch of the Atlas V AFSPC-5 mission», said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs.

This Atlas V mission also includes the Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) carrying the National Reconnaissance Office’s (NRO’s) Ultra Lightweight Technology and Research Auxiliary Satellite (ULTRASat). ULTRASat is composed of 10 CubeSats managed by the NRO and NASA. «The ABC contained 8 P-Pods that released 10 CubeSats that were successfully delivered. The CubeSats were developed by the U.S Naval Academy, the Aerospace Corporation, Air Force Research Laboratory, The Planetary Society and California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo to conduct various on orbit experiments», said Sponnick.

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 501 configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), which includes a 5.4-meter-diameter payload fairing. 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. This was ULA’s sixth launch of the 501 configuration, and ULA’s 54th mission to launch on an Atlas V rocket.

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V GPS IIF-10 mission for the U. S. Air Force, scheduled for July 15 from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the United States 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 90 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.

ULA has successfully delivered more than 90 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the fi eld, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system
ULA has successfully delivered more than 90 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the fi eld, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system

 

X-37B

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, or OTV, is an experimental test program to demonstrate technologies for a reliable, reusable, unmanned space test platform for the U.S. Air Force. The primary objectives of the X-37B are twofold: reusable spacecraft technologies for America’s future in space and operating experiments, which can be returned to, and examined, on Earth.

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. Based on NASA’s X-37 design, the unmanned OTV is designed for vertical launch to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) altitudes where it can perform long duration space technology experimentation and testing. Upon command from the ground, the OTV autonomously re-enters the atmosphere, descends and lands horizontally on a runway. The X-37B is the first vehicle since NASA’s shuttle orbiter with the ability to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis, however the X-37B can stay in space for much longer.

Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control, thermal protection systems, avionics, high temperature structures and seals, conformal reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems, and autonomous orbital flight, reentry and landing.

The Atlas V vehicle will also launch an Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) containing eight P-Pods will release 10 CubeSats. Following primary spacecraft separation the Centaur will change altitude and inclination in order to release the CubeSat spacecraft, which are sponsored by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The ten CubeSats were developed by the U.S. Naval Academy, the Aerospace Corporation, the Air Force Research Laboratory, California Polytechnic State University, and Planetary Society.

The Air Force's AFSPC-5 payload, encapsulated inside a 5-meter diameter payload fairing, is mated to an Atlas V booster inside the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex-41
The Air Force’s AFSPC-5 payload, encapsulated inside a 5-meter diameter payload fairing, is mated to an Atlas V booster inside the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41

 

Payload Fairing (PLF)

The AFSPC-5 satellite is encapsulated in a 5-m (14-feet) diameter medium payload fairing. The 5-m PLF is a sandwich composite structure made with a vented aluminum-honeycomb core and graphite-epoxy face sheets. The bisector (two-piece shell) PLF encapsulates both the Centaur and the satellite. The vehicle’s height with the 5-m medium PLF is approximately 63 m/206 feet.

In preparation for launch, an Atlas V rocket, with the Air Force's AFSPC-5 mission, is rolled from the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF to the pad at Space Launch Complex-41
In preparation for launch, an Atlas V rocket, with the Air Force’s AFSPC-5 mission, is rolled from the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF to the pad at Space Launch Complex-41

 

Centaur

The Centaur second stage is 3 m/10 feet in diameter and 12.65 m/41.5 feet in length. Its propellant tanks are constructed of pressure-stabilized, corrosion resistant stainless steel. Centaur is a cryogenic vehicle, fueled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. It uses a single RL10C-1 engine producing 101.86 kN/10,387 kg/22,900 lbs of thrust. The cryogenic tanks are insulated with a combination of helium-purged insulation blankets, radiation shields, and Spray-On Foam Insulation (SOFI). The Centaur forward adapter (CFA) provides the structural mountings for the fault-tolerant avionics system and the structural and electrical interfaces with the spacecraft.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider

 

Booster

The Atlas V booster is 3.8 m/12.5 feet in diameter and 32.46 m/106.5 feet in length. The booster’s tanks are structurally rigid and constructed of isogrid aluminum barrels, spun-formed aluminum domes, and intertank skirts. Atlas booster propulsion is provided by the RD-180 engine system (a single engine with two thrust chambers). The RD-180 burns RP-1 (Rocket Propellant-1 or highly purified kerosene) and liquid oxygen, and delivers 3,826.36 kN/390,180 kg/860,200 lbs of thrust at sea level. The Atlas V booster is controlled by the Centaur avionics system, which provides guidance, flight control, and vehicle sequencing functions during the booster and Centaur phases of flight.

The launch of this mission culminates many months of teamwork between the Air Force Space and Missile System Center (SMC) Launch Systems Directorate (LR), Boeing, ULA and the RCO

Ula retires

The Ula-class submarines are among the most silent and maneuverable subs in the world. This, in combination with their relatively small size (length: 59 m; beam: 5.4 m; draft: 4.6 m), makes them very difficult to detect from surface vessels and quite ideal for operations in coastal areas. Therefore it is not surprising that these diesel-electric submarines are regarded as both the most effective and cost-effective weapons in the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN).

HNoMS Ula (S300)
HNoMS Ula (S300)

However, it must be noted that six Ula-class submarines were commissioned between 1989 and 1992, designed for a service life of thirty years. These submarines are insufficient to meet future, high-tech threats. As defense-aerospace.com reported, Norway’s future submarine capability has been studied since 2007. The studies have been conducted in two phases, both with thorough external quality reviews before being presented. The Norwegian Government has now taken a conceptual decision on future submarine capability.

«Submarines are a vital capability in the Norwegian Armed Forces, and have a major impact on our overall defence capability. Together with combat aircraft and Special Operations Forces (SOF), submarines are among the armed forces’ most important capabilities. Hence, it is very important that we now have established that the acquisition of new submarines will form the basis for further project work. This decision makes it possible for us to maintain a credible submarine capability», says Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide.

He also noted that that the ability to operate covertly, which is so vital for the submarine’s relevance, will be significantly better for a new watercrafts than what is achievable through service life extension of the current fleet. This is due to lower acoustic signatures and a better hydrodynamic design.

It is a substantial task that awaits the project organization. Part of the work will be to evaluate potential cooperation with other countries in terms of procurement, training and maintenance. A partnership can contribute to economies of scale and a robust solution throughout the life of the submarines. I guess the Norwegian Government will cooperate with Germany, as it was while Ula-class submarines were assembled in Germany by Thyssen Nordseewerke, Emden. By the way, in Germany the Ula-design submarines are known as the U-Boot-Klasse 210.

The decision only entails that the project moves into a new phase – the project definition phase. No investment decisions have so far been taken. By the end of 2016, a recommendation on the future submarine capability will be presented. Thereafter, pending the Governments decision, an investment proposal will be presented to Norwegian Parliament. This will enable the delivery of new submarines to the Norwegian Navy starting from the mid 2020’s. Thus, the Ula-class must be kept operational for additionally five years (!) in order to maintain a continuous submarine capability until a replacement is operational. Studies, carried out by the Ministry of Defence, show that it would have been very costly and impractical to extend the service life beyond this.

The total investment cost of this major project depends on the number of submarines and the weapons inventory. Of course, we are talking about diesel-electric watercrafts. Norway cannot afford to build and maintain nuclear-powered submarines.

«I emphasize that we have not decided the final level of ambition for this project or the number of submarines. This is something I will give my recommendation on when the project is presented in 2016», says the Minister of Defence.

Diesel-electric submarine
Diesel-electric submarine