WGS-2 on Orbit

The Air Force launched the second of its wideband global satcom military communication satellites on April 3 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. An Atlas V rocket successfully carried the satellite, which is designated WGS-2, into space. Boeing, the satellite’s manufacturer, announced April 6 that it had acquired the first on-orbit signals from WGS-2, which indicated that “the spacecraft is healthy and ready to begin orbital maneuvers and operational testing.” Following a series of orbital maneuvers and on-orbit testing, WGS-2 will begin operations. WGS-2 joins the WGS-1 on orbit, which was placed in space in October 2007 and entered service last April. Boeing is under contract to build three WGS Block I and three more capable Block II satellites. They will augment and eventually replace Defense Satellite Communication System satellites, providing a giant leap in communications bandwidth throughput over the DSCS constellation. (Includes Cape Canaveral report by 2nd Lt. Karl Wiest)