Boeing Hands Off WGS-4 to Air Force Following Checkout

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The U.S. Air Force accepted control of the fourth Wideband Global Satcom (WGS-4) military communications satellite April 11 after weeks of on-orbit testing, according to a Boeing press release.

The handoff took place after tests conducted at Boeing’s mission control center in El Segundo, Calif., and at government facilities elsewhere in the state verified the satellite’s beam-steering functions and payload feature utilization. Test signals were sent through each of the satellite’s 19 antenna beams, according to the April 12 press release.

Service officials from Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., are conducting additional tests in preparation for moving WGS-4 to its operational position this summer, according to the press release.

The Air Force launched WGS-4 Jan. 19 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta 4 rocket. ULA is a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The WGS-4 satellite is the first in the program’s upgraded Block 2 series, which contains spacecraft that will provide a new radio frequency bypass that can transmit intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data imagery at data rates about three times greater than the first block of satellites, according to the press release. WGS-4 will also support battle management objectives.