The U.S. Air Force has awarded $150 million to Denver-based( ) for the launch of the fifth in its series of Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) military communications satellites, the Pentagon said in a Nov. 28 contract announcement.
WGS-5, built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, is the second Block 2 model of the series, and will be launched by a4 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., in late 2012 or early 2013, ULA spokesman Chris S. Chavez said.
The satellite will provide X- and Ka-band communications as part of a planned eight-satellite constellation that is replacing the aging Defense Satellite Communications System. Three WGS satellites have been launched so far, the latest in December 2009. WGS-4, the first Block 2 model, is scheduled for launch Jan. 19, Chavez said.
The award is a modification to a three-launch, $575 million contract originally awarded May 6, Tracy A. Bunko, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in an emailed response to questions. ULA, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture, was tasked to launch the Mobile User Objective System 2 communications satellite, WGS-6, and a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office dubbed Launch 65. The original contract did not cover the WGS-5 launch.