EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Boeing recently shipped its fifth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, which will provide the U.S. Air Force with faster transmission of airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance imagery, to Cape Canaveral in Florida for this year’s planned launch.
Part of the upgraded Block II series, the satellite arrived at the Astrotech processing facility in Titusville, Fla., on March 9 and will undergo preflight checkout, fueling and integration to prepare for launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket.
WGS-5 will join four other Boeing-built WGS satellites to provide warfighters with instant, secure, worldwide connectivity. It features performance upgrades such as a switchable radio frequency bypass that sends imagery approximately three times faster than the data rates currently available to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The next WGS satellite to be produced under the Block II contract, WGS-6, has completed testing and is in storage awaiting its scheduled mid-2013 launch date. WGS satellites -7 through -10 are in production under a Block II follow-on contract signed in August 2010.
“We worked closely with the Air Force to follow a commercial operating model on the Block II follow-on contract,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. “This new model has saved the Air Force more than $150 million without compromising mission assurance.”
WGS satellites are built on the proven Boeing 702 satellite platform that takes advantage of decades of industry-leading, space-proven technologies. The four satellites that have been delivered are in operation and meeting or exceeding all mission requirements. WGS satellites include enhanced capabilities designed for flexible communications in both X- and Ka-band frequencies, allowing terminals that operate in different frequency bands to interconnect and reposition coverage beams based on evolving mission needs.