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.

Source: Flight International