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WGS constellation gets an 8th Star

8 Dec 2016, 15:10 UTC
WGS constellation gets an 8th Star
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Seen from just a few hundred feet away, the Delta IV Medium+ rocket leaps off the launchpad. Photo credit: Michael Seeley / We Report Space
Shortly before 7pm EST, United Launch Alliance sent the 8th WGS satellite on its journey to orbit, riding atop the Boeing-designed Delta IV Medium+ launch vehicle. This satellite is the second of the “Block II Follow-on” WGS spacecraft, part of the U.S. Air Force’s high capacity network providing X- and Ka-band communications to troops deployed around the world.
Delta IV Medium+
The launch vehicle for the December 7th mission is United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Medium+ (5,4) rocket. The Delta IV can support two different payload fairings (four or five meter) along with two solid rocket booster configurations (two or four boosters). The 5,4 designation for this mission indicates that the launch vehicle made use of a 5 meter payload fairing and four Orbital ATK GEM-60 strap-on solid rocket boosters. In addition to the SRBs, all the members of the Delta IV family use an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen main engine, delivering 705,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff. The GEM-60s contribute an addition 743,000 pounds of thrust, bringing the total force of the ...

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