ULA's Delta 4 Successfully Launches Defense Communication Satellite into Orbit
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta 4 rocket was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Wednesday, August 7, at 8.29 p.m. EDT.
The Delta 4 rocket carried along with it a communication satellite that will be used by the U.S. Air Force, its allies as well as the Australian government that funded the space craft and launch service. ULA , formed in December 2006, has till date conducted 73 launches and for 2013, this is ULA's seventh launch.
The spacecraft was funded by the Australian government to the tune of $707 million. They have also paid for a few operational services. Therefore, till 2029, Australia is permitted to use a percent of the WGS network.
Delta 4 delivered the sixth Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) that will transmit images, signals of video conferencing and television broadcast. Apart from this, it will also be used in the official communications between U.S. and its selected partners. This is the second WGS mission launch this year.
The WGS is the only military satellite communication system that can support simultaneous X and Ka band communications.
"These satellites offer tremendous operational flexibility. Such sharing of resources is very consistent with what the Department of Defense wants to do to form stronger coalitions with our allied partnerships, to share costs of operations. It really helps all parties." said Dave Madden, director of military satellite communications at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
The other countries that can utilize the WGS system are Luxembourg, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark and New Zealand.
The U.S. Military is hunting for additional partners to finance other satellites.
The ULA is preparing for its next launch of Delta 4 Heavy NROL-65 that is scheduled to take off on August 28 from the Vandenberg Air Base. Calif.