Delta IV finally launches military satellite WGS-9
Delta IV finally launches military satellite WGS-9
Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a communications satellite for the military tonight
20 March, 2017, 00:08
WGS satellites play an integral part in the strategic and tactical coordination of military operations.
The U.S. Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Reconnaissance Office, and the U.S. Air Force are among the prominent organizations in its launch portfolio.
The satellite, built by Boeing, will join a worldwide communications network used by the United States military and its allies.
The WGS-9 satellite was paid for by a six nation consortium that includes Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands amd the United States.
"WGS provides worldwide flexible, high data rate and long haul communications for marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, the White House Communication Agency, the US State Department, global partners, and other special users".
Generating a brilliant plume of fiery exhaust visible for miles around, the 217-foot-tall rocket smoothly climbed away, consuming propellants at a furious rate, shedding weight and quickly accelerating. The Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A first stage engine shut down as planned just under four minutes into flight.
The rocket, which is carrying a military communications satellite, was scheduled to lift off at 7:45 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 37. Built by Space Systems Loral, the satellite is created to operate for at least 15 years.
WGS-9 was delivered to a supersynchronous transfer orbit atop the ULA Delta IV Medium+ rocket.
Falcon 9 now has launched successfully three times this year and 30 times overall since its debut in 2010.
Over the next few months, Boeing will begin on-orbit testing of WGS-9 to verify performance and prepare the satellite for operational use.
This is the third launch in 2017 and the 118th successful launch since ULA, a consortium by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, was formed in December 2006.
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