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WGS launch ushers in new information: dominance era.

The U.S. Air Force launched the first of a new generation of military communication satellites Oct. 10, 2007, when an Atlas V booster carried a Wideband Global SATCOM satellite into space. WGS is a multi-service program that leverages commercial methods and technological advances in the satellite industry to rapidly design, build, launch, and support a constellation of highly capable military communications satellites. The WGS system is composed of three principal segments: space segment (satellites), control segment (operators) and terminal segment (users).

For the Army, as well as the other services, the WGS satellite will provide a quantum leap in communications bandwidth. It will augment and eventually replace the aging Defense Satellite Communication System which has been the Department of Defense's backbone for satellite communications over the last two decades. It will also replace the one-way Ka-band service provided by the Global Broadcast Service. Additionally, WGS will provide a new two-way Kaband service.

With its first launch into geosynchronous orbit in 2007, WGS became the DoD's highest capacity communications satellite. A constellation of five WGS satellites will provide service in both the X and Ka-band frequency spectrums. The second and third WGS satellites are planned for launch later in 2008. Both the Delta IV and Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles will be used to boost the satellites to the correct orbit. Satellites 4 and 5 are anticipated for launch in 2011 and 2012.

These digitally channelized transponded satellites provide communications capacity, connectivity and flexibility for United States military forces, while maintaining interoperability with existing and programmed X- and Ka-band terminals. WGS will provide essential communications services for combatant commanders to command and control their tactical forces. Tactical forces will rely on WGS to provide high-capacity connectivity into the terrestrial portion of the Defense Information Systems Network.

WGS satellite general characteristics:

Primary Function: High-capacity military communications satellite

Primary Contractor: Boeing Satellite Systems Satellite Bus: Boeing 702

Weight: Approximately 13,000 lbs at launch, 7,600 lbs on-orbit

Orbit altitude: 22,300 miles

Payload: Transponded, cross-banded-X and Kaband communications suite

Antennas: eight beam, transmit and receive X-band Phased arrays and 10 Ka-band Gimbaled Dish Antennas, one X-band Earth coverage

Capability: 39 125-MHz Channels via digital channelizer/router

Launch vehicle: Delta IV and Atlas V EELVs

Inventory: three on contract, two more planned

Unit Cost: Approximately $300 million

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Editor's note: The MILSATCOM Systems Wing, Space, and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is responsible for development, acquisition, and sustainment of the WGS Program and contributed to this article.

ACRONYM QUICKSCAN

DISN--Defense Information Systems Network

DSCS--Defense Satellite Communication System

DSP--digital signal processor

EELV--Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles

GBS--Global Broadcast Service

MILSATCOM--Military Satellite Communications

PM DCATS--Program Manager Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems

RAS--Remote Access System

TCM SNE--TRADOC Capabilities Manager Satellite Communications and Network Enterprise-Training and Doctrine Command

UA--Unauthorized Access

U.S.--United States

WGS--Wideband Global SATCOM

WGSMS--Wideband Global Spectrum Monitoring System

WSOC--Wideband SATCOM Operations Centers

Mr. Stein is a contractor for DRS Technologies supporting Program Manager Defense Communications ans Army Transmission Systems and TRADOC Capabilities Manager SATCOM and Network Enterprise.
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Title Annotation:TCM-SNE
Author:Stein, Frank
Publication:Army Communicator
Date:Mar 22, 2008
Words:512
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