In Brief

Military Satellite Launched Into Orbit by United Launch Alliance

A ULA Atlas V rocket carried the MUOS-5 communication satellite into orbit on June 24 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).
A ULA Atlas V rocket carried the MUOS-5 communication satellite into orbit on June 24 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT). (Image credit: ULA)

United Launch Alliance successfully launched a military communications satellite into orbit at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) today (June 24).

The Atlas V rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex-41 in Florida carrying the fifth and final satellite in the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite array.  

The MUOS system helps users in remote areas or places with poor communications options, and gives them the ability to stay connected to MUOS while changing location, according to Cmdr. Peter Sheehy, from the Navy's Communications Satellite Program Office, who spoke during ULA's live-launch program.

MUOS-5, the fifth and final installment in a military communication satellite array, launched into orbit on June 24 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT), atop a ULA Atlas V rocket (Image credit: ULA)


 The first MUOS satellite, MUOS-1, launched in February 2012.  The MUOS-5 satellite is an "on-orbit spare" for the MUOS array, Sheehy said.

"Keeping a MUOS spare is all part of ensuring that this MUOS capability that we're delivering will be around for the next 10-plus years," he said.

ULA launched an Atlas V rocket on March 22, and carried a Cygnus cargo space craft headed to the International Space Station. During that launch, the rocket engine experienced a slight anomaly, when the first stage of the rocket engine shut off prematurely. The rocket's upper stage fired for an extra minute to compensate. ULA later said it had identified and resolved the issue. This was the first flight of an Atlas V rocket since the March launch.

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Calla Cofield
Senior Writer

Calla Cofield joined's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter