The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command activated the first satellite of the Boeing-built Wideband Global Satellite constellation six months after it completed a series of tests, the Army reported Thursday.
WGS-1 is the first block I satellite of the WGS constellation that works to provide two-way Ka– and X-band communications services for combatant commanders and uniformed personnel on the battlefield.
The service branch launched WGS-1 from Cape Canaveral in Florida in October 2007 to mark its transition to the WGS constellation from its legacy Defense Satellite Communications System B9 satellites.
According to the Air Force Space Command, the WGS system works to help tactical forces connect to the Defense Information Systems Network and is designed to transmit data at a rate of 2.1-to-3.6 gigabits per second.
The service branch expects to launch three follow-on block II satellites onboard the United Launch Alliance-made Delta IV and Atlas V rockets from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2018 following the launch of Boeing-built WGS-7 in July 2015.