Boeing grapples with satellite component obsolescence issues

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., 22 Feb. 2006. Engineers at Boeing Satellite Systems Inc. in El Segundo, Calif., are trying to come to grips with electronic component obsolescence issues on the Wideband Gap filler Satellite.

Feb 22nd, 2006

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., 22 Feb. 2006. Engineers at Boeing Satellite Systems Inc. in El Segundo, Calif., are trying to come to grips with electronic component obsolescence issues on the Wideband Gap filler Satellite.

The Wideband Gap filler Satellites (WGS) is a high-capacity satellite communications system designed to support the warfighter with newer and far greater capabilities than those provided by current systems, yet it is compatible with existing control systems and terminals. WGS will provide two-way X-band and Ka-band communications as well as Ka-band broadcast services to US Armed Forces and other agencies worldwide.

Boeing Satellite Systems won a $148.2 million U.S. Air Force contract Feb. 17 for non-recurring engineering and the advance procurement of long-lead parts the WGS vehicle 4. As part of this effort, Boeing experts will consider dealing with spacecraft hardware obsolescence issues by using alternative components or designs, or by choosing new suppliers.

The contract came from the Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. The contract number is FA8808-06-C-0001. Contract work should be finished by July 2007.

The WGS in the near term will fulfill and improve the duties of the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and the Global Broadcast Service (GBS) Ka services of GBS payloads on other U.S. communications satellites.

WGS will offer 4.875 GHz of instantaneous switchable bandwidth, thus each WGS can supply more than 10 times the capacity of a DSCS III Service Life Enhancement Program (SLEP) satellite. Together these assets will provide wideband services during the transition period between today's systems and the advent of the Objective X/Ka wideband system or Advanced Wideband System (AWS), which has merged with Transformational Communications System (TCS), Air Force officials say.

Until the future Advanced-EHF replacement to the MILSTAR comes on-line with its capability to transmit 1 gigabit per second, short-term solutions to the military's bandwidth shortfall will be needed, such as the Wideband Gap filler Satellite.

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