EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 04, 2009 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that it has shipped the second in a series of new, high-capacity military communications satellites to Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida, where it will be readied for a March launch.
The Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, designated WGS-2, is the second of six advanced Boeing 702 satellites being built for the U.S. Air Force to expand communications for military operations worldwide.
"The shipment of WGS-2 represents another key milestone toward expanding the delivery of critical information to our warfighters via satellite," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "With the launch of the next WGS satellite, the Air Force will nearly double the amount of valuable SATCOM communications bandwidth available."
WGS-2 was shipped from Boeing's satellite manufacturing facility in El Segundo, Calif., to Florida aboard a U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircraft that departed from Los Angeles International Airport. The spacecraft will undergo several weeks of final checkouts at the launch processing center near Cape Canaveral. It will then be loaded with propellant, encapsulated into the launch vehicle fairing and placed on an Atlas V launch vehicle. After launch, WGS-2 will join the operational WGS-1 in geosynchronous orbit.
WGS-1 has demonstrated excellent on-orbit performance, exceeding output power requirements that translate directly into additional communications capacity. The WGS satellites are the highest-capacity communications satellites in the Department of Defense's on-orbit satellite fleet.
WGS satellites can operate at both X-band and Ka-band frequencies, and provide many important operational features that are not available from any other SATCOM system. WGS is currently augmenting, and will eventually replace, the Defense Satellite Communication System and the Global Broadcast Service function currently provided by UHF Follow-On satellites. It also will reduce the U.S. government's reliance on commercial SATCOM services.
Boeing has a long history of proven performance for the Air Force and is currently manufacturing satellites for the Global Positioning System and the Space-Based Space Surveillance system. A Boeing-led team is also competing to build the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) Space Segment, which will provide military users with proven networked packet-switching technology for breakthrough mobile communications.