Weather Delays Launch of U.S. Air Force WGS Satellite

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WASHINGTON — The planned Nov. 19 launch of the U.S. Air Force’s third Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) communications satellite has been delayed to early December due to weather conditions that disrupted the launch campaign.

At press time, the launch tentatively was scheduled for Dec. 2.

High winds prevented technicians from mating the satellite with its Delta 4 rocket Nov. 8 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., according to a Nov. 9 Air Force press release. The satellite is being shipped back to Astrotech Corp.’s payload processing facility in nearby Titusville, Fla., to recharge its batteries.

The third WGS satellite will be positioned over the Atlantic Ocean and with the other two will give the military nearly worldwide X- and Ka-band coverage. The first two satellites, launched in 2007 and 2008, are positioned over the Pacific Ocean and Middle East, respectively. Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of Seal Beach, Calif., is under contract to deliver a total of six WGS craft to the Air Force and is ordering long-lead items for the seventh and eighth satellites.