On 22 October, the US Navy achieved “an operationally suitable orbit” with its fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite. The space vehicle’s solar arrays and antennae were all fully deployed by 30 October.
MUSO-5 launched from Cape Canaveral on 24 June but its orbit-raising propulsion system failed to achieve the required transfer orbit manoeuvre. The Navy/industry team found an alternative propulsion system in order to achieve the 22 October success.
The new satellite completes a constellation of five that will provide enhanced 3G-like cellphone communications capabilities to forces wherever they are located, regardless of the local line of sight to the satellites, for at least the next decade.