ULA set to launch 10th USAF Wideband Global SATCOM satellite

15 March 2019 (Last Updated March 15th, 2019 10:00)

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is ready to launch the tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the US Air Force (USAF) on board the Delta IV rocket.

ULA set to launch 10th USAF Wideband Global SATCOM satellite
Illustration of the WGS satellites in its two configurations, known as Block I (left) and Block II (right). Credit: USAF.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is ready to launch the tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the US Air Force (USAF) on board the Delta IV rocket.

The planned launch will take place at Space Launch Complex-37 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US.

Boeing developed the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system as part of a contract for ten WGS satellites.

It is designed to provide two-way X-band and Ka-band communications along with Ka-band broadcast services for the US and allied troops around the world.

Boeing has implemented an enhanced Wideband Digital Channelizer upgrade for the last three satellites in the ten-satellite WGS constellation. The upgraded digital channelisers will nearly double the available bandwidth of earlier satellites in the series, according to Boeing.

“An RS-68A engine will power the rocket’s common booster core, while the RL10B-2 engine will power the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage.”

ULA government and commercial programmes vice-president Gary Wentz said: “ULA is proud to be the exclusive launch provider for all ten WGS missions. Our focus on mission success continually demonstrates that safely and reliably delivering these critical national assets is our highest priority.”

ULA will launch the mission on board the Delta IV vehicle in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration. The 218ft-tall rocket includes a 5m payload fairing.

Aerojet Rocketdyne supplied two engines for the vehicle. An RS-68A engine will power the rocket’s common booster core, while the RL10B-2 engine will power the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage. Northrop Grumman delivered four solid rocket motors for Delta IV.

The WGS programme is aimed at providing high data rate and long haul communications for marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, the White House Communication Agency, the US State Department, international partners and other special users.

Other nations involved in the project are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand.