January 29, 2013:
Leftists and environmentalists are trying to block the construction of a ground station in Italy for the new MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) military communications system. The large satellite dishes in Sicily are criticized for ruining the view in a rural area and threatening world peace. The other three ground stations (one for each satellite) are in North America, Hawaii, and Australia.
Although the U.S. is paying for nearly all of MUOS, allies like NATO and Australia will be able to use it. MUOS will give military users cell-phone-like capabilities anywhere in the world. Four communications satellites operating in 36,000 kilometer stationary (geosynchronous) orbits provide superior satellite phone service that is also encrypted and capable of working despite being in forests or most buildings. In effect, MUOS can replace cell phone towers in any area on the planet once the signals from one of the four satellites are aimed at the area of operations. The complete system is supposed to be active by 2016. The first satellite went up last February.