The MUOS-4 satellite completes a quartet that the Navy and ULA have now put in orbit.
At 6:18 a.m., the rocket blasted into a pre-dawn starry sky over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for what appeared to be a flawless launch.
After a two-day delay due to the potential threat of the former Tropical Storm Erika, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is ready to go at Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral AFS. The MUOS constellation helps improve communications in the military.
The rocket is carrying the fourth Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS, to an orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office in April reported that more than 90% of the system’s capacity was essentially going unused because of problems integrating the new software with ground stations and the Manpack radios the Army is developing, all of which must work together. The third MUOS satellite launched in January and is still undergoing testing before it becomes fully operational.
MUOS is particularly helpful for troops in remote locations, because these soldiers can transmit and receive high-quality communications when the satellites are beyond the line of sight.
This marks the 56th Atlas V launch since the vehicle’s first launch in August 2002. The launch was originally scheduled for 5:59 a.m.