Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 37 on Wednesday, carrying into orbit the eighth and most powerful satellite in the Wideband Global Satcom System (WGS).
ULA’s live coverage of the eighth Wideband Global SATOM-8 (WGS-8) mission for the U.S. Air Force.
The WGS-8 satellite represents a $426 million investment by the Pentagon to further enhance the satellite constellation by adding a Wideband Digital Channelizer which builds the heart of the satellite’s communications package, tasked with the conversion of uplink and downlink signals between the different frequency bands. Built around new Application Specific Integrated Circuit Technology, the new channelizer boosts the satellite’s data throughput to 11Gbps while also opening up more flexible communications and releasing additional bandwidth to users.
WGS-9 and 10 will also fly the upgraded communications package.
When finished in 2018, WGS will consist of ten operational satellites, accessible by the U.S. military, the White House & State Department as well as foreign users Canada, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and New Zealand. Communications provided by WGS can range from unclassified signals to encrypted signals to cater to a variety of needs. WGS supports video relay from unmanned drones, voice calls and data messages such as maps provided to soldiers in the field, and quality-of-life services such as television and E-Mail services for troops in remote areas of the globe.