Thursday, November 17, 2011

Military satellite arrives for January launch

A military communications satellite arrived Tuesday on the Space Coast in advance of a planned Jan. 19 launch from Cape Canaveral, the Air Force reported today.

The fourth of six Wideband Global SATCOM satellites was flown into Kennedy Space Center's shuttle runway.

Over the next two months, the satellite will undergo final tests, encapsulation in a payload fairing and transportation to Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for placement atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket.

Flying 22,000 miles above the planet, the Boeing-built WGS spacecraft are the Department of Defense's highest capacity communications satellites. One WGS space vehicle provides 10 times the communications capacity of predecessor Defense Satellite Communications satellites.

The first WGS satellite was launched in October 2007. Two more followed in 2009.

The next spacecraft, WGS-4, is the first in a new series that includes technology upgrades, Boeing says.

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