Launch News Atlas V 551 launch with MUOS-4, September 2, 2015

Galactic Penguin SST

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The deployment of the US military's largest mobile communication satellite network continues with the 4th of 5 satellites slated to join the fleet now on the iconic launch pad at Cape Canaveral waiting for liftoff.

MUOS-4 is the latest member of the under construction fleet of the US Navy's Mobile User Objective System, a.k.a. the new US military satellite 3G mobile communication system. Currently in testing mode, MUOS will eventually provide worldwide mobile data transfer capability that will be crucial to all US forces. With the satellite's huge 46-foot (14 meter) diameter reflector, "battlefield phone calls" from anywhere in the world, even at the poles, are now possible. This one follows the launch of MUOS-1 in February 2012, MUOS-2 in July 2013 and MUOS-3 this January.

Interestingly there's something new on this Atlas V - for the first time in its history, the Centaur upper stage, the interstage and the 500 series support structures were first integrated in an ex-Titan rocket processing facility before transferring to the vertical integrated facility at SLC-41 as a single piece. This shaves a few days off the processing schedule compared with directly lifting the individual pieces at the VIB, and also lowers the chance of adverse weather impacting the launch schedule:




With tropical storm Erika now gone from Florida, it's time to fly! :hailprobe:

|
Launch date:​
|
September 2, 2015​
Window open:​
| 09:59 UTC / 5:59 a.m. EDT
Window close:​
| 10:43 UTC / 6:43 a.m. EDT
Launch site:​
| SLC-41, CCAFS, Florida

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[highlight]L[eventtimer]2015-09-02 09:59:00;%c%%ddd%/%hh%:%mm%:%ss%[/eventtimer][/highlight]​
|

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Mission Insignia​
CN17CPnWEAA7Fmd.jpg:orig


Launch coverage: (starts 5:39 am EDT / 09:39 UTC)



Payload:
The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) is a next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system designed to significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move.

MUOS will provide military users 10 times more communications capability over existing systems, including simultaneous voice, video and data, leveraging 3G mobile communications technology.



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Specifications
Type / Application:​
|
  • Military mobile communication

Operator:|
  • US Navy

Contractors:|
  • Lockheed Martin

Equipment:|
  • 46-foot primary UHF mesh reflector
  • 17.7 foot legacy UFO system mesh reflector

Configuration:|
  • A2100M

Dimensions:|
  • ?

Propulsion:|
  • ?

Power:|
  • 2 deployable solar arrays
  • batteries

Data Rate:|
  • Up to 384 kbps on 4-5 MHz WCDMA channel

Launch Weight:|
  • 6740 kg (3812 kg dry)

Orbit:|
  • Geosynchronous orbit




Launch Vehicle:

The Atlas 5 was developed by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services as part of the US Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Each Atlas 5 rocket uses a Russian-built RD-180 engine burning kerosene and liquid oxygen to power its first stage and an American-built RL10 engine burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to power its Centaur upper stage.

Atlas500_Cutaway-page-001.jpg

The Atlas 5 launcher will fly in the so-called 551 configuration, denoting a 5-meter payload fairing, 5 strap-on solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

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Specifications
Gross mass:​
|
  • 573800 kg (1265000 lb)
Payload:​
|
  • 18510 kg (40800 lb) LEO
  • 8900 kg (19620 lb) GTO
Height:​
|
  • 58.30 m (191.20 ft)
Diameter:​
|
  • 3.81 m (12.49 ft)
Span:​
|
  • 3.81 m (12.49 ft)
Thrust:​
|
  • 3827.00 kN (860343 lbf)


Launch Timeline & Ground Track:

av_muos4_mob-page-001.jpg


av_muos4_mob-page-002.jpg


Weather forecast for Titusville, Florida on September 2, 2015 (6 a.m.)

Partly cloudy skies. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 24C. Winds light and variable.

Time|Temps|Dew Point|Relative Humidity|Precip|Snow|Cloud cover|Pressure|Wind|Weather
6 AM|25°C|24°C|94%|15%|0%|69%|1017 hPa|3 km/h SW|
nt_mostlycloudy.svg
Mostly Cloudy


Links:
 
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boogabooga

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Just put a link to the last MUOS. What more could you say? They launch one about every year. Another goodie for the military.
 

Soheil_Esy

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Atlas V / MUOS4 Launch

David-Dickinson-DSC_0881_1441191463_lg.jpg

Large JPG image
Taken by David Dickinson on September 2, 2015 @ Hudson, Florida, USA


Camera Used: NIKON CORPORATION NIKON D3200
Exposure Time: 100/10
Aperture: f/6.3
ISO: 400
Date Taken: 2015:09:02 06:51:48

Details:
I was 100 miles west of the launch site this AM north of Tampa Bay, shooting the launch with the DLSR. Awesome display of noctilucent clouds... dawn launches are the best!

http://spaceweathergallery.com/indi...d=117045&PHPSESSID=ikbamdok3a9d5rgbhn7h08n2l2

Brent-IMG_0396_1441191370_lg.jpg

Large JPG image
Taken by Brent on September 2, 2015 @ Universal,ORL,FL,USA


Camera Used: Canon Canon PowerShot G16
Exposure Time: 1/20
Aperture: f/2.0
ISO: 1250
Date Taken: 2015:09:01 18:22:33

Details:
I missed the actual launch, but caught the after math.

http://spaceweathergallery.com/indi...d=117044&PHPSESSID=ikbamdok3a9d5rgbhn7h08n2l2
 

MaverickSawyer

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Found this via Foxtrot Alpha...

Shot from Miami International Airport.
 

Soheil_Esy

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MUOS 4 at its 172 W check-out location

Fri, 25 Sep 2015 18:13:24 +0200

MITEX1_16Sep2015_125921_125951UT_Q65_6_43417_Langbroek_9-16-2015_clear_4.jpg

Large JPG image
MiTEx 1 on 16 September 2015


On September 16, I was using the Warrumbungle 0.51-m telescope in Australia to track MiTEx. Indeed, MiTEx 1 (2006-024A) was imaged as a faint object close to the expected location (image above).

But about 5 degrees Northeast of MiTEx 1, I imaged another, very bright object (see image below) at approximately 172 W. It was too bright to be MiTEx 2 and didn't fit any known object. This UNID turned out to be the newly launched classified military COMSAT, MUOS 4 (2015-044A).

UNID_MUOS4_16Sep2015_131845_131915UT_Q65_6_43418_Langbroek_9-16-2015_clear_3.jpg

Large JPG image
MUOS 4 on 16 September 2015


MUOS 4 was launched from Cape Canaveral with an Atlas V rocket two weeks earlier, on 2 September 2015. It is the fourth satellite in the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) system of Geosynchronous narrowband communication satellites, the first of which was launched in 2012. This system of military COMSAT is to provide communication facilities to 'mobile users': i.e. military personel in non-fixed positions such as ships, aircraft, tanks and vehicles or on foot. It is a replacement for the aging UFO constellation of COMSAT.

The MUOS system is to consist of four operational satellites and one spare fifth satellite. According to a publication by Oeting et al. in the Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest 30:2 of 2011, the operational satellites will be placed in slots at longitudes:

15.5 W
100 W
177 W
75 E


...while the spare satellite (MUOS 5, to be launched) will be placed at longitude 72 E. Compare this to the actual locations of the MUOS satellites according to our tracking:

MUOS_constellation_Oeting_etal.png

Large JPG image
MUOS constellation, from Oeting et al. 2011


Current locations of MUOS satellites,
based on amateur tracking:

------------------------------------------
MUOS 1 2012-09A 177 W Pacific
MUOS 2 2013-036A 100 W CONUS
MUOS 3 2015-002A 15.8 W Atlantic
MUOS 4 2015-044A 172 W (check-out)
------------------------------------------

MUOS_constellation_24SEP2015_2D_plusgroundstations.jpg

Large JPG image

The map and table above show the current locations of MUOS 1, 2 and 3 (from Mike McCant's INTTLES file). The positions agree well with the slots depicted in the mentioned publication.

(and yeah: if you think it is a tad silly that these orbits are 'classified' while the intended orbit slots have been published in a publicly available publication, you are of course right).

The yellow dots in the map are ground facilities related to the MUOS system. The MUOS constellation is designed such that each satellite has at least two Radio Acces Facilities (RAF) in range.

MUOS4_24Sep2015_120547_120617UT_Q65_6_43447_Langbroek_clear4.jpg

Large JPG image
MUOS 4 imaged on 24 September 2015


My additional observations on September 24 (see image above) show that MUOS 4 is stationary at 172 W, as depicted in the map below. An approximate orbit for the satellite can be found here.

MUOS4_24SEP2015_1205UT.jpg

Large JPG image

As MUOS 4 appears intended for an operational slot at longitude 75 E over the Indian Ocean (red dot in the map above), this means the current location at 172 W is not the intended operational longitude. Rather, it is a temporary initial check-out location. Once check-out is completed (and this might take several weeks), it will probably be moved to longitude 75 E.

MUOS_constellation_3D_oblique_24SAEP2015.png

Large JPG image

MUOS_constellation_3D_polar_24SAEP2015.png

Large JPG image

This check-out position at 172 W has been used for the MUOS satellites before, according to Ted Molczan (priv.com). It is in range of three MUOS ground facilities: two Radio Acces Facilities (RAF) at Wahiawa in Hawaii and (although barely) Geraldton in Australia, and the primary Satellite Control Facility (SCF) in Pt. Mugu, California.

Labels: MiTEx, MiTEx 1, MUOS, MUOS 4

http://sattrackcam.blogspot.nl/2015/09/muos-4-at-its-172-w-check-out-location.html
 
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