Home / Science / Delta 4 rocket launches 10th WGS broadband satellite from Air Force – Spaceflight Now

Delta 4 rocket launches 10th WGS broadband satellite from Air Force – Spaceflight Now

United Launch Alliance Delta4 missile launches Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, along with the tenth US satellite satellite broadcaster SATCOM, Satcom satellite. Credit: Walter Scriptunas II / Spaceflight Now

The United Launch Alliance put a new satellite into orbit on orbiting Cape Canaveral on Friday night with a fiery blast from Cape Canaveral, drones and battlefield commanders.

After ground teams had resolved several technical hurdles with the rocket and a satellite navigation system, the RS-68A main engine of the delta-4 (66 meters) engine experienced a high water level with an orange flame moment before taking off.

Five seconds later, four solid-fuel rocket engines fired, and at 8:26 am the hold-down bolts were released EDT Friday (0026 GMT Saturday) as the Delta 4 with a 1.8 million pound thrust quickly cleared the launch pad of Cape Canaveral's Complex 37B climbed off.

The main engine and auxiliary nozzles introduced their thrust to lead the Delta 4 east across the Atlantic, sending the US Air Force's tenth global broadband SATCOM communications satellite across the equator in geostationary orbit toward its final operational position more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers).

The Northrop Grumman-built, solid rocket drill built by Northrop Grumman and thrown into the mission in two pairs at intervals of 1 minute and 40 seconds. Once the Delta 4 was above the dense lower layers of the atmosphere, it released its nose cone to reveal the WGS 10 satellite.

The Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engine fired nearly four minutes until the first stage fell into the Atlantic Ocean. An upper-school RL10B-2 engine, also supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne, fired twice to place the WGS 10 spacecraft in an elliptical transfer orbit with a height of up to 44,300 km (40,000 miles) above the Earth.

The Boeing-built WGS 10 satellite separated from the upper tier of Delta 4 at T + plus 36 minutes and 50 seconds. Thus, the success of the company's successful missions since its inception in 2006 has been extended to 133.

The WGS 10 satellite. Credit: Boeing

Friday night's launch was delayed by 90 minutes to give engineers time to investigate technical concerns on the first and second stages of the Delta 4 rocket. Once these issues were resolved, the launch team had to wait for officers to make sure that NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System is ready to direct the telemetry from the rocket to the ground controllers.

The mission marked the penultimate flight of the Delta-4 missile variant with a single core of the first tier – known as Delta-4 medium – as ULA retires its Launcher family to retire on the debut of the prepare new Vulcan booster, which will be cheaper than the previous Atlas and Delta fleet.

Gary Wentz, US Government Vice President of Government and Commerce, said the company's decision to withdraw the Delta 4 medium should bring down its cost in 2014.

We provided the products we found and found that maintaining these two families of launchers, both the Delta and the Atlas, during that time lowered our flight rates and increased our costs, "Wenz said. "That really powered it, based on the competitive industry where we're trying to maximize our competitiveness."

The Delta 4-Medium family offers the same range of lift options as the less expensive Atlas 5 rocket. The Delta 4-Heavy, which will remain operational until at least the early 2020s, uses three first bolted cores from Delta 4 to deliver heavy payloads into orbit, unlike one of the Atlas 5 configurations.

ULA was formed in 2006 by the merger of the Boeing Delta 4 and Lockheed Martins Atlas 5 rocket programs. The 50:50 joint venture put both missile lines into operation to ensure that the US military has two independent launch options for national security satellites.

SpaceX's Rockcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets are now certified to launch US safety payloads. With the missile families Falcon and Atlas, the military will continue to have two launch options after the departure of Delta 4 medium.

The delta 4 rocket strips are pointing downwards in this long exposure photo. Picture credits: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now

On Friday, the rocket variant Delta 4-Medium + 5.4 launched with four solid rockets and a 5.1 meter (16.7 feet) upper stage and a payload coverage. It was the eighth and final flight of the Delta 4-Medium + 5.4 configuration, and all carried WGS satellites for the Luftwaffe.

Another Delta 4 medium missile is due to launch an Air GPS navigation satellite on July 25 from Cape Canaveral. This launcher will fly in the Delta 4-Medium + 4.2 configuration with two solid rockets and a 4 meter diameter upper stage and a payload fairing.

With the launch of Friday, the Delta 4 rocket has flown 39 times since November 2002, and 28 of these missions used a Delta 4 medium.

"It has a very successful history and is similar to the WGS satellite, it is a workhorse for the Luftwaffe," said Wentz Delta 4-Medium. "It's kind of bittersweet that we're here in the end, but we look forward to the future missions and the vehicles we will use."

Including the GPS launch in July, ULA has contracts in use for six Delta-4 flights until 2024. The five early 2020s scheduled Delta-4 heavy-starts will all be top-secret payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office Raise the US Spy Satellite Agency:

  • Delta 4 Medium + 4, 2 with the GPS-3 SV02 Payload
    • Start Date: July 25, 2019
    • Launch Location: SLC -37B, Air Force Cape Canaveral, Florida
  • Delta 4-Heavy with the NROL-44 Payload
    • Start Date: 2020
    • Launch: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
  • Delta 4-Heavy with the NROL 82 Payload
    • Start Date: 2020
    • Launch: SLC-6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
  • Delta 4-Heavy with the NROL-91 payload
    • Start Date: Fiscal Year 2022
    • Launch: SLC-6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
  • Delta 4-Heavy with the NROL-68 payload
    • Date of introduction: Fiscal Year 2023
    • Launch: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
  • Delta 4-Heavy with NROL-70 Payload
    • Start Date: Fiscal Year 2024
    • Launch: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

The 13,200 WGS 10 communications satellite (6,000 kilograms) – Friday night launched nine broadband satellites deployed since 2007 to form a global network that passes video, data and other information between battlefields to decision makers.

The WGS fleet is classified as unclassified signals supporting US and Allied forces around the world. With a digital channelizer, the $ 400 million WGS 10 satellite will relay communications at high data rates in the X-band and Ka-band frequencies over a 14-year mission.

One of the WGS 10 Ka-band reflectors during an operational test at the Boeing factory in El Segundo, California. Credit: Boeing

"WGS has the unique capability of bridging military Ka and X-band, giving our warriors great flexibility in maximizing their ability to communicate," said Tom Becht, director of the Military Satellite Communications Directorate at The Space and Missile Systems Center of the Air Force in Los Angeles.

The nine previous WGS satellites all launched ULA missiles – the first two on Atlas 5 in 2007 and 2009 and the next seven on Delta 4. Wideband's broadband SATCOM fleet is the largest satellite communications network Capacity of the US Department of Defense.

Two of the previously 10 WGS satellites have been funded by international governments. WGS 6 was funded by Australia, and a consortium from Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand paid for the WGS 9 satellite launched in March 2017. In return for their contributions, the military of these nations gain access to the WGS network.

WGS 10 is the fourth and final WGS satellite "Block II Follow-On". It's the third with the digital channelizer that processes communication signals more efficiently and almost doubles the bandwidth that previous series satellites provided. [19659003] The WGS 10 is based on the Boeing 702 satellite platform and will orbit more than 22,000 miles above the equator with a liquid-powered boost engine and plasma thrusters. The maneuvers would take about four months, Wibo said, before the WGS 10 reaches geostationary orbit, where its speed equals Earth's rotation speed.

Following a two-month geostationary orbit over the United States, military leaders will decide where WGS 10 will be deployed.

Lieutenant Colonel Enrique Costas, Project Manager for Defense Communications and Army Operations, said the WGS network is widely used in the military because of its reliability and high bandwidth capacity, allowing live video transmissions from drones around the world to hundreds or thousands of operators thousands of kilometers away.

"If I wanted to target a specific terrorist in the Middle East, then I have an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platform. For this terrorist, I have to be able to make a decision on whether to fire or not, or send a ground crew to reach that goal, "said Costas.

High-resolution video streaming from a flying drone He needs a lot of bandwidth, he said.

" I have to get this signal from the collection point to the Center, where it is decided whether the trigger should not be operated or use a team to respond to a particular mission, "Costas told reporters in a pre-launch conference call." WGS is one of the main ISR carriers for the forces in some theaters. "

The White House and the State Department are also dependent on WGS satellites, and the network broadcasts television signals to the world it stationed troops.

… I have a telephone connection between the (Combatant Commander) and the President of the United States. I want to make sure the signal never goes down during this conversation to make critical decisions, "Costas continued. "WGS is part of this transportation to ensure that we have reliable and secure communications regardless of our location on Earth."

The Air Force is about to award a new order for at least one additional WGS satellite to Boeing ,

Congress raised $ 600 million in its defense budget for two new WGS satellites in 2018, overriding the military's plans to acquire more communications capacity from commercial satellites. However, the funding line did not include any money to launch the satellites, each costing between $ 300 million and $ 400 million.

The Air Force launched another round of WGS procurement with the unexpected money, and Boeing submitted a proposal in January. According to Becht, military officials have not decided to order one or two more WGS satellites. He said a final decision and contract signing is expected later this year.

Becht said the Air Force could follow a buy model often used by commercial satellite operators, where Boeing is responsible for building the new WGS spacecraft, which costs more. effective practices. Boeing could also select a launch provider for the new WGS spacecraft and combine the entire mission into a turnkey contract with the final delivery of the satellite to the Air Force in orbit.

"The capabilities of the WGS system support our allies around the world in joint missions and help our military to be more effective," said Rico Attanasio, Boeing's director of tactical communications. "As the need for resilience grows in SATCOM, I am confident that WGS will continue to be a key element in meeting the needs of secure secure communications."

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .

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