United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium+ (5,4)
Space Launch Complex 37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
March 18, 2017 @ 8:17 PM EDT
The Wideband Global SATCOM constellation is a critical communications satellite system owned and operated by the US Air Force. The Boeing built satellites have been launched on both the United Launch Alliance Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, operating in geosynchronous orbit. The satellites are used by all branches of the US military and allied forces for data services like, but not limited to, drone footage/data, Navy ship communications, aircraft communications, battlespace information, phone call routing, and even quality of life services to US troops. The newer WGS satellites, including 8, 9, and 10, have the new Wideband Digital Channelizer, which increases data capacity over 90% of previous generation WGS satellites. One WGS satellite alone has more data capacity than the entire previous constellation of DSCS. Unlike most geosynchronous (GEO) satellites that are dropped off into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), the increased performance of the Delta IV placed the satellite in a super-synchronous orbit. The satellite has to use its own on-board propulsion system to reach GEO, and super-synchronous orbit reduces the energy (or delta-v) needed to reach the outpost.