An artist's concept of WGS antenna arrangement. Credit: Boeing
Boeing Satellite Systems
Mass at launch
Box + 2 panels
Cross-band (X-band, Global Broadcast, 2-way Ka-band) payload
2 deployable solar arrays, 40.84m span
R-4D, 4 XIPS-25 Ion engines
Design active lifetime
> million years
WGS F4 is an Air Force satellite headed for service over the Middle East to route essential communications to U.S.
military forces and improve data links to unmanned aerial drones. Dropped off into a highly-elliptical, preliminary orbit by
the Delta 4 rocket, the satellite's conventional bi-propellant chemical main engine will execute four apogee and four
perigee firings through early February before beginning 40 days of final orbit circularization maneuvers with its xenon-ion
propulsion thrusters to reach geosynchronous perch 22,300 miles (35,888 km) above Earth in March. The Air Force says it
plans to put this WGS 4 spacecraft's coverage footprint over the Middle East and Southeast Asia for use by U.S. Central
Command and U.S. Pacific Command. Once slid into its orbital home high above the Indian Ocean, the satellite will join the
expanding fleet of Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellites that form the Pentagon's worldwide communications
backbone across all branches of the military. The craft's communications package provides shaped, steerable spotbeams of
bandwidth wherever requested across its field-of-view for Ka- and X-band frequencies, plus the onboard capability to switch
signals from one band to the other.
X and Ka-band transponders. Will replace DSCS system.
The 4th Wideband Global Satcom satellite was launched on Jan 20 into supersynchronous geostationary transfer orbit. The
Boeing 702 satellite provides high bandwidth communications for the US military and is operated by US Army Space Command.