Press Release

Encapsulation Milestone of Fourth WGS Satellite Moves Air Force Closer to Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
December 19, 2011
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LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The launch of the U.S. Air Force’s fourth Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft moved another step closer. Engineers completed the encapsulation procedure at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla. Dec. 15.

The encapsulation of WGS-4 in the Delta IV launch vehicle payload fairing marks an important milestone for the spacecraft and launch campaign. The event marks completion of Air Force Satellite Control Network compatibility testing, payload and bus functional testing and propellant load. The launch is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2012.

Wideband Global SATCOM provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast, and point to point connections. WGS is the only military satellite communications system that can support simultaneous X and Ka band communications, with crossbanding that makes it transparent to the warfighter to communicate across terminal types. WGS currently collects and routes real time data through more than 700 X-band, 3,100 Ka-band, and 400 switchable X/Ka-band terminals.

WGS-1 launched on Oct. 10, 2007, and U.S. Strategic Command accepted WGS-1 for operational use April 14, 2008. WGS-2 launched on April 3, 2009 and began operational use Aug. 21, 2009. WGS-3 launched on Dec. 5, 2009 and began operational use June 25, 2010. WGS-4 will be the first Block II satellite with enhanced capabilities.

SpaceRef staff editor.