United Launch Alliance will deploy the tenth Wideband Global Satcom satellite for the US Air Force Friday. Riding atop a Delta IV rocket, WGS-10 will lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a 129-minute window that opens at 18:56 Eastern Daylight Time (22:56 UTC).
The WGS-10 satellite is the latest part of a constellation of highly-capable communications satellites that serve the armed forces of the United States and its allies. WGS-10 carries Ka-band and X-band transponders with a total 8.088 gigahertz of bandwidth – offering downlink speeds of up to 11 gigabits per second.
Wideband Global Satcom was originally named Wideband Gapfiller Satellite, intended as an interim solution to support existing Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) satellites and provide new services. The first WGS satellite, launched in October 2007, provided more capacity than the entire DSCS system. WGS was to have safeguarded the US Air Force’s communications capabilities until the introduction of the more capable Transformational Satellite System (TSAT). Subjected to delays, the TSAT program was eventually canceled in 2009.
Boeing was initially awarded a contract for two WGS satellites, with an option for a third, in 2001. This option was taken up in 2003, with two ...