US-Australian military communications satellite launched

Washington DC
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A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV launch vehcile lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, carrying a military communications satellite.

The rocket lifted off on 7 August, successfully lofting the sixth Wideband Global Satellite (WGS 6) into geosynchronous orbit.

The Delta IV flew in medium-plus configuration, with a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68-powered core stage, four solid rocket boosters, and one Rocketdyne RL-10-powered upper stage.

The flight marks the 23rd for the Delta IV, according to Flightglobal Ascend's launch database.

Though designed, built and launched by the US, the satellite was funded wholly by Australia, which bought capacity in the high-bandwidth communications constellation. The collaboration between the US and Australia marks what both nations hope will become a new standard for funding. The US desires a full constellation, but the government's overall spending plans are under increasing pressure.

A total of ten satellites are planned for the constellation, with at least one more in the joint-funding model, a deal involving New Zealand and several European nations.

The USA is set to fund the remaining two satellites in the constellation.

 wgs6; credit ula

 ULA