A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the tenth WGS (Wideband Global SATCOM) military communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida on March 15 at 8:26 p.m. EDT.
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.
“We are very proud to deliver this critical asset to orbit in support of the U.S. and Allied warfighters deployed around the world defending our national security,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “Thank you to the entire ULA team and mission partners for their outstanding teamwork and dedication to mission success.”
The WGS-10 satellite, built by the Boeing Company, is an important element of the new high-capacity satellite communications system. Each WGS satellite provides more wideband communications capacity than the entire Defense Satellite Communications System.
ULA has been the exclusive launch provider for all ten WGS satellites. This mission launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (5,4) configuration vehicle, built in Decatur, Alabama, including a 5-meter Payload Fairing and standing at 218 feet. The common booster core for Delta IV was powered by the RS-68A engine, and the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage was powered by the RL10B-2 engine, both supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne. Northrop Grumman provided the four solid rocket motors. At liftoff, the main engine and four solid rocket motors comined to produce approximately 1.7 million pounds of thrust.
WGS-10 is 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 is also the 39th launch of the Delta IV since its inaugural launch in 2002.
To date ULA has a track record of 100 percent mission success with 133 successful launches.