[Via Satellite 07-24-2015] United Launch Alliance (ULA) orbited the U.S. Air Force’s seventh Wideband Global Satcom (WGS 7) satellite July 23 aboard a Delta 4 rocket. The satellite features a payload upgrade from prime contractor Boeing that enables 17 percent more secure communications bandwidth than its predecessors.
WGS satellites provide military communications in X and Ka-band for U.S. and allied forces. The next three WGS satellites will incorporate Boeing’s advanced digital payload design, which doubles payload bandwidth and further improves connectivity.
ULA launched the satellite aboard a Delta 4 Medium-plus (5,4) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV). The rocket used a single ULA common booster core powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engine, along with four Orbital ATK GEM-60 solid rocket motors. An Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine powered the upper stage with the satellite encapsulated in a 5-meter-diameter composite payload fairing.
ULA’s next launch is the Atlas 5 MUOS-4 mission for the U.S. Navy, scheduled for Aug. 31 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The next WGS satellite is scheduled to launch in late 2016.
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