Military takes control of satellite

April 16, 2012 at 8:25 AM

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., April 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has taken operational control of the fourth WGS military communications satellite following on-orbit tests by Boeing.

The Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, the first in the Block II series, features enhanced transmission of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery through the use of a new radio frequency bypass system.

Boeing said the new system translates into a data transfer speed three times greater than on other WGS satellites in orbit.

"This fourth WGS satellite adds substantial capacity and resiliency to the WGS constellation," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager, Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "The team worked around the clock to ensure that all testing was completed successfully and that the satellite was healthy and ready for customer handover.

"We remain committed to the Air Force, the WGS mission and to continuing to support the delivery of this critical enhancement of warfighter communications."

Boeing's WSG satellites feature xenon-ion propulsion, deployable thermal radiators, and advanced triple-junction, gallium-arsenide solar arrays for high-capacity, flexible payloads. They have the ability to interconnect terminals that operate in different frequency bands and reposition coverage beams.

Boeing's on-orbit testing of the WSG-4 was conducted on the communications payload by passing test signals through each of the satellite's 19 antenna beams. Tests were also performed from a Boeing ground station on the craft's steering functions.

Air Force personnel are conducting additional tests before moving the satellite into operational position.

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