Wideband Global SATCOM

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket successfully launched the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 8:07 p.m. EDT on July 23 from Space Launch Complex-37. This is ULA’s seventh launch in 2015 and the second successful ULA launch in just eight days. It marks ULA’s 98th successful one-at-a-time launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

A Delta IV rocket lifts off carrying the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for the U.S. Air Force
A Delta IV rocket lifts off carrying the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for the U.S. Air Force

«Kudos to the U.S. Air Force and all of our mission partners on today’s successful launch and orbital delivery of the WGS-7 satellite. The ULA team is honored to work with these premier U.S. government and industry mission teammates and to contribute to the WGS enhanced communications capabilities to the warfighter», said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. «The team continues to emphasize reliability, and one launch at a time focus on mission success to meet our customer’s needs».

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus (5,4) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) using a single ULA common booster core powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engine, along with four Orbital ATK GEM-60 solid rocket motors. The upper stage was powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine with the satellite encapsulated in a five-meter-diameter composite payload fairing.

Wideband Global SATCOM provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast and point-to-point connections. WGS provides essential communications services, allowing Combatant Commanders to exert command and control of their tactical forces, from peacetime to military operations. WGS is the only military satellite communications system that can support simultaneous X and Ka band communications.

In preparation for launch from Space Complex-37, the Mobile Service Tower or MST is rolled back from the ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the WGS-7 mission for the U.S. Air Force
In preparation for launch from Space Complex-37, the Mobile Service Tower or MST is rolled back from the ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the WGS-7 mission for the U.S. Air Force

ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V MUOS-4 mission for the United States Navy, scheduled for August 31 from Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 95 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

The Air Force's seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37
The Air Force’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37

 

Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS)

WGS-7, the first Block II Follow-on satellite, supports communications links in the X-band and Ka-band spectra. While Block I and II satellites can instantaneously filter and downlink up to 4.575 MHz from 39 primary channels, WGS-7 can filter and downlink up to 5.375 MHz from 46 primary channels.

As with the Block II satellites, WGS-7 includes a high-bandwidth Radio Frequency (RF) bypass capability, which allows for larger bandwidth allocations to users. Depending on the mix of ground terminals, data rates, and modulation and coding schemes employed, a single WGS satellite can support data transmission rates between 2.1 and 3.6 Gbps.

WGS-7 also allows for up to ~800 MHz of additional bandwidth through the use of «Redundant Port Activation».

The Air Force's seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is encapsulated inside a Delta IV 5-meter payload fairing
The Air Force’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is encapsulated inside a Delta IV 5-meter payload fairing

WGS has 19 independent coverage areas, 18 of which can be positioned throughout its field-of-view. This includes eight steerable/shapeable X-band beams formed by separate transmit/receive phased arrays; 10 Ka-band beams served by independently steerable diplexed antennas; and one transmit/receive X-band Earth-coverage beam. WGS can tailor coverage areas and connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within its field-of-view.

Five globally located Army Wideband SATCOM Operations Centers provide 24/7 payload monitoring and command and control of the WGS constellation. Each Global Satellite Configuration and Control Element has the capability to control up to three satellites at a time.

Spacecraft platform control and anomaly resolution is accomplished by the third Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

The U.S. Air Force’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, encapsulated inside a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV rocket at Space Launch Complex-37

 

A Delta IV rocket lifts off carrying the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite for the U.S. Air Force. Wideband Global SATCOM provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast and point-to-point connections

 

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