Aviation News

January 20, 2012

New Military Communications Satellite Launched From Cape Canaveral

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By: Matt Molnar
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A Delta IV rocket blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Station on Thursday evening carrying a communications satellite to be used by US and Australian military forces.

Shortly after its 7:38pm ET launch, Boeing, which manufactured the $464 million WGS-4 satellite, reported that the bird had successfully transmitted messages back to earth indicating that the launch and deployment had been successful.

The fourth of at least seven satellites to be launched for the Wideband Global SATCOM system (WGS), the WGS-4 offers up to 4.875 GHz of bandwidth, about 10-times more than the current system. Frontline troops will be able to access data at speeds up to 2.8 gigabits per second, or about 460-times faster than the average home broadband service.

WGS-4 was the first Block II satellite of the program, offering various hardware upgrades over the first generation. The WGS system will combine at least seven satellites and ground stations offering coverage to most of the globe. The first WGS satellite was deployed in October 2007, while satellites two and three were launched in April and December 2009, respectively.