U.S. military communications satellite fails to reach orbit
A U.S. military communications satellite, known as MUOS-5, experienced a “failure” in its orbit-raising propulsion system while being transferred from its initial orbit to its final orbit.
The failure leaves a key communications network over the Middle East, Africa and Asia without a spare.
The satellite was expected to reach geosynchronous orbit and a test location about 35,400 kilometers above Hawaii by July 3. But in an Aug. 2 statement, the Navy said the satellite “experienced a failure of the orbit raising propulsion system,” five days into a 10-day climb, halting the transfer maneuver that would push the satellite from its initial elliptical launch orbit to geosynchronous orbit.
“The satellite remains in a stable intermediate orbit since experiencing the anomaly,” the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) said in a statement. “The MUOS team is continuing to evaluate the situation, considering alternate orbit adjustment options, calculating mission impact and investigating all options before proceeding.”
The four-member MUOS constellation provides a high-speed global cellular network for secure voice, data and video communications for mobile U.S. forces over an area that includes Africa, the Middle East and Asia.