Air Force moves ahead with SATCOM bandwidth improvements

LOS ANGELES AFB, Calif., 14 June 2005. U.S. Air Force space experts are moving ahead with plans to improve the bandwidth of military satellite communications with the anticipated launches of Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS) systems.

Jun 14th, 2005

LOS ANGELES AFB, Calif., 14 June 2005. U.S. Air Force space experts are moving ahead with plans to improve the bandwidth of military satellite communications with the anticipated launches of Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS) systems.

Officials of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., awarded a $6.5 million contract modification June 9 to WGS prime contractor Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, Calif., to provide launch support and early operations, including orbit-raising on-orbit checkout for Wideband Gapfiller Satellite Flight 3, which is expected in 2007.

The first WGS satellite is set to launch in March 2006 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket. Launch of the second and third WGS systems are set for approximately September 2006 and March 2007, respectively.

The WGS will support U.S. military communications for tactical command and control, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, battle management, and combat support. WGS will also augment the current Ka-band Global Broadcast Service by providing additional information broadcast capabilities.

Each WGS can route 2.4 to 3.6 gigabits per second of data to provide more than 10 times the communications capacity of the predecessor DSCS III satellite, Boeing officials say.

The WGS space segment initially will consist of three geostationary satellites operating over Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic regions. Plans are in place for procurement of additional satellites. Boeing won the WGS contract in January 2001 to provide early transformational capabilities supporting the Transformational Communications Architecture.

The enhanced connectivity capabilities of WGS enable any user to communicate with any other user with efficient use of satellite bandwidth, Boeing officials say. A digital channelizer divides the uplink bandwidth into nearly 1,900 independently routable 2.6 MHz subchannels, providing connectivity from any uplink coverage area to any downlink coverage area (including the ability to cross-band between X and Ka frequencies).

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