The US Air Force’s fourth wideband global SATCOM (WGS-4) satellite has successfully integrated the satellite bus and payload module, and is now ready for final integration activities.

During the process, the WGS-4’s broadband communications payload was integrated with a high-power Boeing 702 platform, by Boeing, at its Satellite Development Center in El Segundo.

This will be followed by final integration activities, rigorous environmental testing, including vibration and thermal-vacuum tests, over the next few months.

Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems vice-president and general manager Craig Cooning said with the mating of these modules, all bus and payload equipment for WGS-4 has completed integration and testing.

The US Department of Defense’s highest-capacity communications satellite system, the WGS provides fast, flexible, broadband communications for US warfighters and their allies around the world.

The WGS-4 is built under the block II contract, which includes a radio frequency bypass designed to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring additional bandwidth.

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The Boeing 702 platform uses a highly efficient xenon-ion propulsion capability during the production of WGS satellites.

The WGS-4, along with WGS-5 and 6, will be launched in 2011 or 2012.