The U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) accepted the tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-10) military communications satellite into the operational constellation on Nov.19.
The USSPACECOM will now be transitioning users to utilize the bandwidth provided by this new satellite.
Boeing completed verification of the satellite’s performance and handed control authority to the Air Force on July 10. Following the handover, U.S. Air Force (USAF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC)’s WGS program office, in collaboration with the Army and Navy, completed on-orbit testing of WGS-10 and then recommended the satellite for acceptance into the operational constellation. The joint team conducted numerous payload characterization and verification activities to optimize the end-to-end system’s performance.
Additionally, the wideband community took advantage of an extensive special testing period to validate new and emerging anti-jam capabilities as well as resilient techniques and procedures that will be incorporated into the entire WGS constellation.
“By verifying system performance and testing new resilient capabilities, we’re able to put the warfighter first– ensuring we continue to maintain a robust satellite constellation with proven MILSATCOM capabilities,” said Lt. Connor MacMillan, WGS test lead.
The WGS mission demonstrates the U.S. Air Force’s and Army’s continued commitment to jointly deliver secure and reliable satellite communications around the globe to US and Allied forces. WGS delivers critical capacity, connectivity, and interoperability to the Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines and International Partners. Each WGS satellite is fully backwards compatible with over 15,000 joint terminals across the wideband enterprise.
“The WGS system now provides Navy ships worldwide 20 times the data throughput that ships received before the advent of the system. Computer applications that previously could not operate over wideband SATCOM are now enhancing warfighting capability on a daily basis, creating a Navy today that is digitally connected,” said Dr. Kurt Fiscko, technical director of the Navy’s Communications and Global Positioning System Navigation Program Office.
The WGS-10 satellite was launched abroad a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex-37 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida on March 15.
With WGS-10 transferring to operations, the WGS program office will shift its focus solely to executing its Mitigation and Anti-jam Enhancement upgrade and the development and fielding of its next-generation WGS-11+ satellite system. With WGS-11+, the government is utilizing its commercial best practices and is incorporating the same technologies offered to commercial communication satellite customers to deliver enhanced mission utility through contested environments. The SMC Production Corps is leveraging partnerships and exploring collaborative efforts to posture WGS-11+ as a viable government host platform for rapid prototyping efforts. Additionally, WGS-11+ will continue and expand upon the already strong international partner support associated with the WGS program.