What to Insert, and When?

The Air Force will be working closely with the warfighter over the next several years to hammer out which technologies developed for the now-defunct Transformational Satellite Communcations System will be inserted into designs of its WGS and AEHF communication satellites, and the timing of the infusion, said Gary Payton, USAF’s top civilian space official, briefing reporters Thursday in Washington, D.C. Already three WGS spacecraft are on orbit and six in total have been purchased thus far. Because of the timing of everything, Payton said, “It is more than likely” that WGS-9 will be the first satellite in that series to reap the benefits of TSAT technology. As for AEHF, the first spacecraft is slated for launch later this year and four have been ordered. Payton said he’d like to see the TSAT technology added “somewhere around AEHF-6 or so.” (For more on space budget, see Making Space above)