HomeNewsArticle Display

Seventh WGS satellite launch successful after weather delay

A Delta IV Medium+ (5, 4) rocket carrying the seventh Wideband Global satcom satellite aboard lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., July 23, 2015. (Photo courtesy/United Launch Alliance)

A Delta IV Medium+ (5, 4) rocket carrying the seventh Wideband Global satcom satellite aboard lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., July 23, 2015. (Photo courtesy/United Launch Alliance)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Five o'clock in the "City of Angels" typically signals the end of a day’s hard work. It's a time when most Los Angeles metropolitan area commuters pile on to the freeways and Metro Rail system, returning to their homes during the long summer evening.

However, about 25 dedicated Space and Missile Systems Center personnel put off their mad dash to jam the streets of LA, and instead, gathered in the Gordon Conference Center at the Schriever Space Complex. Instead of having visions of the weekend ahead, these active-duty and civilian employees observed the culmination of their efforts 2,584 miles away at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Featuring a newly uprated Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engine for the first time on a rocket of its kind, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium+ (5, 4) vehicle with a more than 16-foot wide, 47-foot long payload fairing and four solid fuel motors, soared from Space Launch Complex 37B at 8:07 p.m. EDT July 23. The vehicle carried the seventh Wideband Global satcom satellite into a supersynchronous 36,000-mile transfer orbit. The Air Force communications satellite will join a constellation of WGS satellites already on station, providing global coverage to the U.S. military and its allies.

"This is the seventh installment of the WGS system. The satellites are an important element of a new, high-capacity comm system providing communications capability to our troops in the field," said Ron Fortson, the United Launch Alliance's director of mission management.

Meanwhile, back in California, the appreciative audience watched the launch as part of the eighth "SMC Launch Presents" event since 2014.

Hosted by Capt. Nick Laliberte, the government mission integration manager from SMC's Launch Systems Directorate, these "launch and learn" sessions offer a prelaunch mission briefing and a Q-and-A session to explain what occurs during the countdown and the mission timeline in between the launch and satellite separation.

Just one week earlier a similar, although larger, audience of more than 150 SMC personnel gathered the morning of July 15 to watch the successful flight of a ULA Atlas V "401" launch vehicle carry the GPS IIF-10 satellite into orbit for the GPS navigation network. The fourth Atlas V launch of 2015 helped mark the 20th anniversary of the GPS constellation of satellites achieving full operational capability.

Launch managers were forced to scrub the WGS-7 mission the evening of July 22 for 24 hours, due to Florida's notorious summer weather. The stormy forecast proved too worrisome to roll back the protective mobile service gantry and leave the vehicle exposed during the afternoon fueling session.

Weather forecasters from the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, expected heavy thunderstorms in the Cape Canaveral area for the July 23 attempt, with anvil clouds and lightning being their primary concerns of violating launch criteria. Fortunately, the skies parted long enough for ULA's medium-lift launch vehicle to do its job.

"It provides the highest data-rate communications for the government," said Rico Attanasio, the Boeing director of Military Satellite Communications.

Boeing is the builder of the WGS fleet and ULA has launched all of the spacecraft to date. The satellites supply communications such as maps and data to Soldiers on the battlefield, relay video from unmanned aerial reconnaissance drones, route voice calls and data messaging, and even offer quality-of-life considerations like TV broadcasts and email delivery to the troops.

"The WGS constellation continues to provide significant added capacity to our (Defense Department) space communications architecture." said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the SMC commander and Air Force program executive officer for space. "WGS delivers crucial wideband communication to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and international partners around the globe. I am proud of the hard work and cooperation of the government and contactor teams on another successful WGS launch."

With three more satellites in production, the WGS constellation is planned to have a total of 10 satellites on orbit by 2018.

Engage

Twitter
The fireworks don't stop in July for the @AirNatlGuard. 💥 #ReadyAF #AimHigh #TotalForce https://t.co/wMbH3W0FDM
Twitter
The latest updates to dress and appearance standards include changes to: - Shaving waiver facial hair maintenance… https://t.co/o0vYkuDQ0L
Twitter
Airmen in Combat Team Member Course learn and execute a variety of skills and procedures @DMAFB to ensure their abi… https://t.co/C4FzaGjQ5w
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Modernizing the Air & Space Forces we need is a top priority for the Dept of the Air Force. #Airmen, equipped with moder…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Best wishes to the @AF_Academy's class of 2024 as they begin the next phase of basic cadet training today! #YourAcademy
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: 🎶 Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force! 🎶 #Airmen from the 721 AMXS & 305 MXS restored a C-17 Globemaster III on Ramstein A…
Twitter
Simulated partner force members participate in tactical training w/@AFSpecOpsCmd during Commando Crucible at Hurlbu… https://t.co/eFXE9oslwe
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: For the first time at @LukeAFB, AMS Airmen painted a #F16 one solid medium-gray color—a simple yet critical task that will…
Twitter
“When asked whether we still require all three of these legs of the triad, I answer, ‘we do’...we must acknowledge… https://t.co/atezdKA5tT
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Battling #COVID; a cyber Airman’s story - https://t.co/HsJv6J7r2A #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient #ReadyAF https://t.co/y7…
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: #ReserveCitizenAirman makes life-saving decision - https://t.co/ZPviQZRrEX (Story by the @307BombWing) #ReserveReady #Rese
Twitter
The Impact of Sharing Stories of Recovery and Resiliency Lt Col Katharine McGregor did not know much about the… https://t.co/17VibuxnTc
Twitter
Many search for years to find their true passion in life. For Staff Sgt. Camrin Northrop, a firefighter for both th… https://t.co/QcNrBXPCV0
Twitter
From their homes to yours, check out the @AirNatlGuard Band of the South! #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/yb7GhZZ5A3
Twitter
Reintegration will be a deliberate & phased approach to protect Airmen & Space Professionals. Learn to maintain rea… https://t.co/egQSAV5uRB
Twitter
The MQ-1B Predator is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft used for i… https://t.co/livZYQyXnH
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,253,283
Follow Us