The Flight Before the Launch

A C-17 Globemaster flies a WGS satellite across the country

March 16, 2017 in Space, Defense

 On January 9, 2017, the ninth Boeing-built Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-9) was shipped from Los Angeles, CA to Cape Canaveral, FL to prepare for launch onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket.

As the backbone of the U.S. military’s global satellite communications, WGS provides flexible, high-capacity and resilient communications capabilities for U.S. and allied warfighters. Through a partnering arrangement, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) created a program that affords partner nations global access to the WGS system. The global program has allowed member nations to invest proportionally to their specific level of MILSATCOM needs. This arrangement provides the benefits of immediate access through an existing worldwide infrastructure, and the ability to leverage existing terminals and telecom equipment.

Australia became the first international participant in the WGS system under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Air Force in 2007. Five additional partner nations – Canada, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and New Zealand – have executed a similar agreement to gain global access to the system through with the launch of WGS-9. Boeing is on contract for a total of ten WGS satellites.

Crew members load the WGS Satellite onto a C-17 Globemaster prior to it’s flight from California to Florida in preparation for launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket.