A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying the Wideband Global SATCOM-4 (WGS-4) satellite for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 here at 7:38 p.m. EST today. This is ULA's first launch of the year and marked the 18th launch of the Delta IV vehicle.
"We are honored to have worked closely with our Air Force and mission partners to enable today's successful launch of the WGS-4 satellite. WGS-4 will provide important capabilities to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines protecting our freedoms around the world," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations. "This mission begins the most aggressive launch campaign in the history of the EELV program, with nine national security and two NASA launches scheduled this year."
This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus configuration vehicle using a ULA single common booster core powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, along with four Alliant Techsystems GEM 60 solid rocket motors. The five-meter diameter upper stage was powered by a PWR RL10B-2 engine with the satellite encapsulated in a five-meter diameter composite payload fairing.
"WGS was the first of the new constellation of satellites to integrate and launch on both the Delta IV and Atlas V vehicles -- the first two on Atlas and now, with WGS-4, the second one on our Delta IV launch system," said Sponnick. "Our ability to integrate and launch satellites successfully and efficiently on two launch systems to provide operational flexibility was a primary reason that ULA was formed."
Wideband Global SATCOM provides anytime, anywhere communication for the warfighter through broadcast, multicast, and point to point connections. WGS is the only military satellite communications system that can support simultaneous X and Ka band communications.
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V launch of the United States Navy's Mobile User Objective System-1 (MUOS-1), scheduled for Feb. 16, 2012 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Source: United Launch Alliance
Date: Jan 20, 2012