Home >> News: March 24th, 2015 >> Story
Satnews Daily
March 24th, 2015

U.S. Navy's Third MUOS Satellite Successfully Deploys Harris Mesh Antennas

[SatNews] Two unfurlable mesh antenna reflectors developed by Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) have successfully deployed onboard the third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT).

Artistic rendition of a MUOS satellite.

Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

This represents the fifth and sixth successful Harris reflector deployments in the planned  five satellite MUOS system. The announcement was made during Satellite 2015 being held March 16-19 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The MUOS satellite constellation operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move. Unlike previous systems, MUOS provides users and on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality, prioritized voice and mission data, on a high-speed IP-based system. Once fully deployed, MUOS will be compatible with, but provide 16-times the capacity of the legacy UHF satellite system.

Harris is scheduled to build 10 reflectors for the MUOS constellation, two per satellite—a 14-meter diameter unit for multiple-beam operation that significantly increases the number of users and traffic the system can support, and a 5.4-meter diameter unit for legacy operations. The gold mesh reflectors are secured to the satellite by Harris precision booms. The reflectors are manufactured at the company's advanced manufacturing facility in Palm Bay, Florida. With more than 80 reflectors on-orbit or under construction, Harris has more than 35 years of experience designing and building space-borne antennas for government and commercial applications. Products range from unfurlable mesh reflectors to steerable and phased array antennas, to reconfigurable payload solutions. Harris reflectors range in size from .2 meters to 22 meters, with frequencies from UHF to Ka-band.

Harris also is playing a central role in developing tactical radio terminals that will provide MUOS satellite communications capability to the end user. MUOS capability will initially be provided via a software upgrade to the widely fielded Harris Falcon III® AN/PRC-117G manpack radio platform. Of the Harris wideband radios already deployed to users, more than 30,000 are ready to host the MUOS waveform software with no changes required to the radio’s hardware. The company’s new AN/PRC-158 multichannel radio, initially designed to compete for the U.S. Army’s HMS Manpack program, will also host the MUOS waveform.

"This third on-orbit deployment again demonstrates how the unique design and flexibility of our mesh reflectors is meeting the needs of the MUOS satellite program," said Bill Gattle, vice president and general manager, National Programs, Harris Government Communications Systems. "We remain committed to delivering the most advanced satellite communications technology to our warfighters."