The 45th Space Wing successfully launched the eighth Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., Wednesday evening. A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket launched the satellite, according to the Air Force. Built by Boeing, WGS-8 “will provide nearly twice as much communications bandwidth as previous WGS satellites due to an upgraded digital payload,” according to a company statement. The Air Force has contracted with Boeing for a total of 10 WGS vehicles, and the ninth, “funded through an international partnership between the United States and Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, and New Zealand,” is expected to launch in early 2017. The seventh satellite in the constellation launched in July 2015.
In his final keynote address before retiring as Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force, Roger A. Towberman reflected on the progress of the Space Force and the growth still ahead at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 12, 2023. Watch the video or read the transcript.