Much of today’s high tech and communication devices used today by people were once used exclusively by the military. That component of communication in the military continues today.
On Thursday, Jan. 19, the Air Force launched a vital new communications satellite into orbit for the U.S. military and the first major American space launch of the year. Built by Boeing, the $464 million WGS-4 satellite is the fourth in a collection of high-capacity satellites that provide tactical communications for ground forces, as well as relay data and imagery from surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. The new satellites can provide more than 10 times the communications capacity of the previous system.
It offers point-to-point communication, broadcast and multicast services for soldiers. The 13,200 pound satellite is equipped with solar arrays to generate power and relies on a xenon ion drive for propulsion. It in will fly in a geosynchrounous orbit about 22,369 miles above Earth to provide communications services for troops in the Middle East.
The first satellite in this group was launched in 2007 with two others in 2009. The next is scheduled for 2013. The Air Force has the option of future satellite programs estimated at over 600 million dollars. The program is geared toward continuing to give troops the edge and support needed in operations.The satellite is being funded through an international partnership between the U.S. Air Force, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and New Zealand.