SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has exercised a contract option with Lockheed Martin Space Systems of California for a fifth satellite for mobile military communications.
The contract option for the Mobile User Objective System satellite is worth $339.65 million.
"MUOS will provide 10 times more communications capability than the current (Ultra High Frequency Follow-On) satellite system," said Mark Pasquale, Lockheed Martin vice president and MUOS program manager.
"We are committed to successfully providing our warfighters with the critical capability of real-time communications on the move, as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible."
The first MUOS satellite is undergoing thermal vacuum testing at Lockheed Martin's facilities in California. One of the programs most critical milestones, the test will verify spacecraft functionality and performance in a vacuum environment, where the satellite is thoroughly tested at the extreme hot and cold temperatures it will experience in space.
The first MUOS satellite, along with the associated ground system, is to be delivered in mid-2011.
The second satellite for the MUOS constellation is proceeding in the production flow. The team is preparing to join the communications system module with the satellite's propulsion core, allowing the start of environmental testing of the fully integrated satellite in preparation for delivery in 2012.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and system integrator for the MUOS program and leads a team that includes General Dynamics C4 Systems, Boeing Defense, Space and Security.
The Navy's Program Executive Office for Space Systems in Virginia and its Navy Communications Satellite Program Office in California are responsible for the MUOS program.