From: Los Angeles Air Force Base
The U.S. Air Force successfully launched the ninth Boeing-built Wideband Global SATCOM satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 8:18 p.m. EDT.
"WGS-9 launch marks an important occasion for the Wideband constellation as it is a major milestone in a 20-year partnership with Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and New Zealand," said Mr. Bob Tarleton, director of Space and Missile Systems Center's Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate. "This accomplishment is the result of the remarkable relationship with our international partners and our exemplary operations at the 45th Space Wing, 50th Space Wing, and industry," said Tarleton. "Thanks to the astounding commitment, focus on the mission, and team work, we successfully launched the next satellite in the WGS satellite constellation." This mission demonstrates the Air Force's continued commitment to deliver secure and reliable satellite communications around the globe to U.S. forces and her allies.
WGS satellites play an integral part in the strategic and tactical coordination of military operations. With this launch, WGS-9 will significantly enhance the current WGS constellation by providing increased communication capacity and coverage. Improving on previous WGS satellites, WGS-9 utilizes a state-of-the-art channelizer, which increases the communication capacity by approximately 45% compared to the first seven WGS satellites.
Over the next few months, Boeing will begin on-orbit testing of WGS-9 to verify performance and prepare the satellite for operational use. Ultimately, WGS-9 will be controlled by the U.S. Air Force's 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base. The WGS-9 satellite will enter operations in October 2017. With one more satellite in production, the WGS constellation is planned to have a total of 10 satellites on orbit by 2019.
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