The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has scheduled another launch to enhance the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation, the nation’s highest-capacity military communications system.
The tenth WGS satellite will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) on March 15 from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch window opens at 6:56 p.m. EDT and will remain open for 126 minutes.
WGS-10 will be the eighth flight of the Delta IV in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration; all launches in this configuration have delivered WGS missions to orbit. This mission also will be the 39th launch of the Delta IV since its inaugural launch in 2002.
“WGS-10’s launch is another giant step for military communications. I am very proud to be a member of this team, and I’m looking forward to a successful launch. GO WIDEBAND!” said Steven Hayden, the government Wideband Global SATCOM Program Manager.
The satellite is the fourth Block II follow-on satellite and supports communications links in the X-band and Ka-band spectra. While Block I and II satellites can instantaneously filter and downlink up to 4.410 GHz, WGS-10 can filter and downlink up to 8.088 GHz of bandwidth. Depending on the mix of ground terminals, data rates and modulation and coding schemes employed, a single WGS satellite can support data transmission rates over 6 Gbps, and WGS-10 with its advanced digital channelizer may support over 11 Gbps.
The demand for ever-increasing reliable and secure satellite communications has been at the forefront of the WGS mission. WGS provides communication connectivity across all mission areas, including air, land and naval warfare. Operated by the U.S. Air Force’s 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., the WGS constellation delivers reliable and secure communications services worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week as a vital military asset to the U.S. and Allied forces.
Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles AFB in El Segundo, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force’s center for acquiring and developing military space systems that focuses on dominating what is now a contested domain. Its portfolio includes GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.