UPDATE for Feb. 24: The U.S. Navy will attempt to launch its new MUOS-1 communications satellite tonight at 5:15 p.m. EST (2215 GMT). Two previous blastoff attempts — one on Feb. 16 and another on Feb. 17 — were delayed by strong winds and thick clouds.
SPACE.com's coverage of the initial launch scrub follows below:
Today's (Feb. 16) scheduled launch of a next-generation military communications satellite has been scrubbed due to strong winds.
The United States Navy was slated to launch its Mobile User Objective System-1 (MUOS-1) satellite today at 5:46 p.m. EST (2246 GMT) aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Persistently high upper-level winds delayed the liftoff, however, and managers finally called the launch off at 6:28 p.m. EST (2328 GMT), just one minute before the window officially closed.
The next launch window opens Friday (Feb. 17) and extends from 5:42 p.m. to 6:26 p.m. EST (2242 to 2326 GMT).
MUOS-1 is the first satellite in a planned four-spacecraft constellation designed to augment and eventually replace the current network that helps American warfighters around the globe communicate and coordinate. The current system, called UHF Follow-On (or UFO), is aging, and two of its satellites stopped working several years ago.
Aerospace firm Lockheed Martin is building the MUOS satellites. The company won a $2.1 billion Navy contract to build MUOS-1, MUOS-2 and associated ground control architecture back in September 2004. The Navy later exercised an option to build three more MUOS spacecraft, one of which will serve as an orbiting spare.