Control of the third wideband global satcom (WGS) military communications satellite has been accepted by the USAF following its successful completion of on-orbit tests.

The US Department of Defense’s highest-capacity satellite communications system, the WGS-3, will provide broadband communications to every theatre of operation in the world.

The on-orbit test was conducted to verify WGS-3’s beam-steering functions and to demonstrate the functionality of its communications payload features by passing test signals through each of the satellite’s 19 antenna beams.

Currently, WGS-3 is undergoing additional tests and is being moved into its operational position over the Atlantic Ocean by air force operations personnel at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado.

The WGS-3 satellite was launched on 5 December 2009, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, aboard a Delta IV rocket.

It is expected to become operational this spring with the WGS-4, 5 and 6 expected to be ready for launch in 2011 and 2012.

Boeing is currently building three additional WGS satellites under a block II contract with the air force.

The block II satellites will include performance boosters such as a radio frequency bypass to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring additional bandwidth.