Mobile User Objective System

Mobile User Objective System

The Mobile User Objective System is an array of geosynchronous[1] satellites being developed for the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to provide global satellite communications (SATCOM) narrowband (64 kbit/s and below) connectivity for communications use by the United States and allies.



Installing a MUOS satellite dish in Hawai'i

The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) (300 MHz to 3 GHz frequency range) SATCOM system, primarily serving the DoD. The MUOS will replace the legacy UHF Follow-On (UFO) system before that system reaches its end of life to provide users with new capabilities and enhanced mobility, access, capacity, and quality of service. Intended primarily for mobile users (e.g. aerial and maritime platforms, ground vehicles, and dismounted soldiers), MUOS will extend users' voice, data, and video communications beyond their lines-of-sight.[2]

The MUOS operates as a global cellular service provider to support the war fighter with modern cell phone-like capabilities, such as multimedia. It converts a commercial third generation (3G) Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) cellular phone system to a military UHF SATCOM radio system using geosynchronous satellites in place of cell towers. By operating in the UHF frequency band, a lower frequency band than that used by conventional terrestrial cellular networks, the MUOS provides warfighters with the tactical ability to communicate in "disadvantaged" environments, such as heavily forested regions where higher frequency signals would be unacceptably attenuated by the forest canopy. The MUOS constellation will consist of four operational satellites and one on-orbit spare. MUOS will provide military point-to-point and netted communication users with precedence-based and pre-emptive access to voice, data, video, or a mixture of voice and data services that span the globe. Connections may be set up on demand by users in the field, within seconds, and then released just as easily, freeing resources for other users. In alignment with more traditional military communications methods, pre-planned networks can also be established either permanently or per specific schedule using the MUOS' ground-based Network Management Center.

The Navy's Communications Satellite Program Office (PMW 146)[3] of the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Space Systems in San Diego is lead developer for the MUOS Program. Lockheed Martin is the Prime System Contractor and satellite designer for MUOS under U.S Navy Contract N00039-04-C-2009, which was announced September 24, 2004.[4] The cost-plus-incentive-fee-and-award-fee contract award for the MUOS defined a base period-of-performance of seven years valued at $2,110,886,703. The base contract provides for an Initial Operational Capability comprising two satellites with the associated MUOS ground control elements.[5] The contract also defined contract options[6] which, if exercised, would add four years and $1,154,948,927 to the base. Key subcontractors include General Dynamics (Ground Transport architecture), Boeing (Legacy UFO and portions of the WCDMA payload) and Harris (deployable mesh reflectors). The first MUOS satellite was scheduled for launch in late 2009 with on-orbit capability achieved in 2010. This has been delayed to the first launch in Nov 2010 and operational by February 2011.[7] First launch has now been delayed further to December 2011.[8]

Legacy payload

In addition to the cellular MUOS WCDMA payload, a fully capable and separate UFO legacy payload is incorporated into each satellite. The "Legacy" payload extends the useful life of legacy UHF SATCOM terminals and enables a smoother transition to MUOS. The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) is the program of record that will provide the DoD terminals that can communicate with the MUOS WCDMA waveform. MUOS also allows on-the-move users access to shore-based, DoD-exclusive telephone and INTERNET networks of the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN) services via the DoD Teleport and the MUOS ground infrastructure.

MUOS Ground Stations

MUOS ground station in Wahiawā, Hawai'i

The MUOS will include four ground station facilities.[2] Site selections were completed in 2007 with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the U.S. navy and the Australia Department of Defence. The four ground stations, each of which serves one of the four active satellites of the MUOS constellation will be located at: the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station at Kojarena[9] about 30 km east of Geraldton, Western Australia; Naval Radio Transmitter Facility (NRTF) Niscemi about 60 km from Naval Air Station Sigonella;[10], Sicily, Italy; Southeast Virginia; and the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, Hawaii.[11]

The Navy's 2007 RDT&E Budget Item Justification for 0303109N Satellite Communications (Space), indicates that MUOS efforts in the period from FY2006-FY2009 will focus on, among other activities, designing, developing, fielding, and testing the MUOS ground segment.[12]

MUOS Project Schedule

MUOS Project Schedule.JPG[12]


External links

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