US Military Communications Satellite WGS-9 Launches Into Orbit; Who Stands To Gain?

By Jeff Thompson - 20 Mar '17 09:22AM
  • NASA's Orion Spacecraft Launches Unmanned Test Flight
  • (Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty) The satellite constellation would help the military of the U.S. to access data from anywhere.

On Saturday night, an advanced U.S. military satellite named Wideband Global SATCOM - 9 or WGS-9 propelled to the orbit. It is reported that the satellite would be used for the communication needs of the military. The $445 million dollar project was carried by Delta IV rocket, and the satellite is the ninth member of a ten-member satellite group.

The satellite was lifted from the Cape Canaveral launching pad at 8:18 p.m. EDT, and it was built and launched by United Launch Alliance (ULA). Interestingly, ULA is a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. The geostationary satellite is placed in orbit that is 22,000 miles from the equator. The tenth satellite in the constellation will be launched late 2018, and some of the satellites in the group are built in cooperation with other countries including New Zealand and Canada.

The WGS network satellites are being used in various television broadcasts, exchanging high-bandwidth data, video conferences and images between aircraft, ships, operation centers and ground forces. This is even used by the White House, the State Department, and other partners worldwide. The satellites support both Ka-band and X-band, and this means that it can be used for data transmission efficiently.

The satellites can also help transferring the voice, video, data, and other communication types. "The satellite group can provide anywhere, anytime communication for forces including sailors, airmen, soldiers, etc.," said the director of Air Force Space Command in Los Angele's Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate, Robert Tarleton.

Interestingly, the new satellite received contributions from Canada, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Denmark, and the Netherlands, and these countries will be able to use its bands for communication needs. According to the communication from the Air Force, the countries would have proportional access to the bandwidth of constellation according to the amount they contributed. The reports confirm that altogether the contribution from the countries stand at $442 million.

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