Boeing is completing final integration, test and launch activities on three Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites. WGS-4, WGS-5 and WGS-6 (right to left in photo) are the first WGS satellites in the Block II series, which includes a new radio frequency bypass that supports the transmission of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery at approximately than three times the data rate of Block I satellites. WGS-4 was recently shipped to Florida to undergo final preparations for a scheduled January launch. Photo credit: Boeing photo.
Nov 18, 2011 El Segundo, CA (SPX)
Boeing has shipped the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., to undergo final preparations for a scheduled January launch.
The new WGS satellite will join three others that are already on orbit and carrying the bulk of satellite communications traffic for the armed forces and other government agencies.
Built at Boeing's El Segundo manufacturing facility, WGS-4 is the first Block II WGS satellite.
The new series adds performance upgrades such as a switchable radio frequency bypass that supports the transmission of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery at data rates approximately three times greater than those currently available to the U.S. Department of Defense.
With the addition of WGS-4, all WGS satellites will continue to provide warfighters with instant, worldwide SATCOM connectivity.
"New airborne surveillance platforms are driving a need for higher data rates, and the upgrades on WGS-4 are designed specifically to meet these emerging requirements," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.
WGS-4 will be placed into geosynchronous Earth orbit along with the three other WGS satellites that are operating over the Middle East, Pacific and Atlantic regions.
"We have three satellites on orbit that are meeting - and in most cases exceeding - customer requirements, and we remain committed to the mission of building affordable WGS satellites for the U.S. Air Force to connect warfighters worldwide," said Cooning.
WGS satellites are built on the proven Boeing 702HP platform, which features highly efficient xenon-ion propulsion, deployable thermal radiators and advanced triple-junction gallium-arsenide solar arrays that enable high-capacity, flexible payloads.
The WGS communications payload has unique flexibility that is important to the military, as well as the ability to interconnect terminals that operate in different frequency bands and to reposition coverage beams based on evolving mission needs.
WGS supports missions ranging from tactical communications to and between ground forces, to relaying data and imagery from airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.