by Staff Writers
El Segundo, CA (SPX) Jan 19, 2012
Boeing has announced that the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite the company is delivering to the U.S. Air Force has successfully completed prelaunch testing and is ready for launch.
WGS-4, the first spacecraft in the program's upgraded Block II series, is scheduled to launch at 7:38 p.m. Eastern time on Jan. 19 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The Block II satellites (WGS 4-6) add a switchable radio frequency bypass that supports the transmission of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery at data rates approximately three times greater than those currently available on Block I satellites.
"This launch will be another important step in advancing communications capabilities for U.S. warfighters and allies around the world," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.
"When it enters service, WGS-4 will join three other WGS satellites that deliver critical communications to help warfighters execute missions with greater safety and efficiency."
Boeing built and tested the WGS-4 spacecraft at its manufacturing facility in El Segundo. Upon arrival at Cape Canaveral on Nov. 15, the satellite was moved into a processing facility to complete a series of prelaunch tests that validated the satellite's operational readiness, including its ability to communicate with the ground control segment and launch site.
Boeing has delivered three WGS satellites and is under contract for six more, including WGS-4. They are built on the proven Boeing 702HP platform, which features highly efficient xenon-ion propulsion, deployable thermal radiators, and advanced triple-junction gallium-arsenide solar arrays that enable high-capacity, flexible payloads.
The WGS communications payload has unique flexibility that is important to the military, as well as the ability to interconnect terminals that operate in different frequency bands and to reposition coverage beams based on evolving mission needs.
WGS supports missions ranging from tactical communications to and between ground forces, to relaying data and imagery from airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.
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