WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin has delivered its third satellite in the U.S. Navy’s next-generation mobile communications program to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, for a January launch, the company said in a Nov. 7 press release.

The multibillion-dollar Mobile User Objective System ultimately will consist of four geosynchronous-orbiting satellites plus one on-orbit spare, and four ground stations. Built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, California, the MUOS constellation is designed to provide smartphone-like communications to mobile forces at rates 10 times faster than the legacy system.

The first of the MUOS satellites was launched in February 2012. The second MUOS satellite launched in July 2013. The third satellite will launch Jan. 21 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, according to an unofficial NASA manifest.

“With the launch of the third satellite in the constellation, to be followed later in 2015 by the fourth, MUOS will be in place to provide pole-to-pole and global, secure communications for the warfighter,” Iris Bombelyn, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of narrowband communications, said in the release.

The satellite still faces post-shipment testing, fueling, and final integration testing and closeout preparations.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.