The U.S. Air Force’s sixth Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft was launched on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. at 8:29 p.m., EDT, Aug. 8, the first step in its journey to expand satellite communications services to the warfighter.
The satellite will provide additional wideband SATCOM coverage for U.S. defense forces and International partners, to include Australia, which supported the cost of the sixth spacecraft under a partnership agreement.
Over the next few months, Boeing will begin on-orbit testing of the satellite to verify nominal performance and prepare the satellite for operational use. Ultimately, the satellite will be controlled by the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. WGS-6 should enter operations in early 2014.
“WGS is a vital piece of the MILSATCOM enterprise consisting of WGS, DSCS, AEHF, Milstar and terminals,” said Charlotte Gerhart, chief, Wideband SATCOM Division, MILSATCOM Directorate. “WGS is providing unparalleled global communications capabilities to soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen for the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and New Zealand. The continued success of WGS is due to the hard work and dedication from the combined Government and Boeing team.”
The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force’s center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems including Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.