Sunday, March 17, 2019

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches WGS-10 Satellite for Air Force

An ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the WGS-10 mission for the U.S. Air Force lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37 at 8:26 p.m. ET. March 15. (Photos courtesy of United Launch Alliance)

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the U.S. Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on March 15 at 8:26 p.m. EDT. ULA has been the exclusive launch provider for all ten WGS satellites.

"We are very proud to deliver this critical asset to orbit in support of the U.S. and Allied warfighters deployed around the world defending our national security," said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “Thank you to the entire ULA team and mission partners for their outstanding teamwork and dedication to mission success.”

The WGS-10 satellite, built by the Boeing Company, is an important element of the new high-capacity satellite communications system. Each WGS satellite provides more wideband communications capacity than the entire Defense Satellite Communications System.

“Today’s launch is a momentous achievement for the joint warfighter as we launch the tenth WGS satellite,” said Tom Becht, acting director of Space and Missile Systems Center’s Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate. “This accomplishment is the result of the remarkable relationship with our partners at SMC’s Launch Enterprise Systems Directorate, the 45th Space Wing, 50th Space Wing, and industry and epitomizes the traits of our transformative SMC 2.0 initiative.”

“The tenacity and dedication to mission assurance ensures we continue to maintain a robust satellite constellation with modernized, more resilient MILSATCOM capabilities,” Becht continued. “Thanks to the astounding teamwork, commitment, and mission focus, we successfully launched the next satellite in the WGS satellite constellation.”

Over the next few months, Boeing will begin on-orbit testing of WGS-10 to verify performance and prepare the satellite for operational use. Ultimately, WGS-10 will be controlled by the U.S. Air Force’s 4th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The WGS-10 satellite is scheduled to enter operations in October 2019. 

This mission launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (5,4) configuration vehicle, built in Decatur, Alabama, including a 5-meter Payload Fairing and standing at 218 feet. The common booster core for Delta IV was powered by the RS-68A engine, and the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage was powered by the RL10B-2 engine, both supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne. Northrop Grumman provided the four solid rocket motors. At liftoff, the main engine and four solid rocket motors comined to produce approximately 1.7 million pounds of thrust.

To date ULA has a track record of 100 percent mission success with 133 successful launches.


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