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USAF's first wideband global communications satellite goes operational

The US Air Force's first wideband global satellite communications (WGS) satellite is now operational for its Pacific region theatre according to its manufacturer Boeing.

Launched in October last year by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB, Florida, WGS spacecraft can transmit information at more than 3Gbits/s.

During operational testing in April, the US government successfully transmitted a 440Mbits/s communications test signal through this first WGS satellite, WGS-1.

"The successful launch, checkout and handover of WGS-1 went smoothly," says the US Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center's military satellite communications systems wing commander, Brig Gen Susan Mashiko.

WGS also incorporates multi-beam X-band communications through phased array antennas and it can cross-band signals between X-band and Ka-band.

The launch of WGS-1 begins the process of augmenting and eventually replacing the US Department of Defense's defence satellite communications system, which has been the backbone space-based communication network for the past 20 years.

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