New Navy communications satellite in trouble

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A Navy communications satellite launched two weeks ago by a ULA Atlas 5 rocket is having trouble reaching its planned geosynchronous orbit.

From that highly elliptical preliminary orbit, the Lockheed Martin-built satellite would perform 7 firings of its Liquid Apogee Engine to raise the low point to circularize the orbit and reduce its orbital tilt closer to the equator.

But after an unspecified number of burns were completed, the trip to geosynchronous orbit was stopped, the Navy said in response to questions submitted by Spaceflight Now. “The satellite experienced an anomaly that required the transfer maneuver to be temporarily halted,” the Navy says. “The Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems has reconfigured the satellite from orbital transfer into a stabilized, safe intermediate orbit to allow the MUOS team to evaluate the situation and determine options for proceeding.”

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