WGS-5, the Air Force’s fifth Wideband Global Satellite Communication spacecraft, arrived in Titusville, Fla., for final processing prior to its scheduled launch into space later this year from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, announced Boeing, the satellite’s manufacturer, on Tuesday. The satellite will undergo preflight checkout, fueling, and encapsulation at Astrotech’s facility in Titusville before its transport to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket will carry WGS-5 into orbit where it will join four other WGS spacecraft already operating. WGS satellites support simultaneous X-band and Ka-band communications for the US military and several partner nations’ militaries. The four satellites already on orbit are “meeting or exceeding all mission requirements,” states Boeing’s March 12 release. WGS-5 is the second WGS satellite in the Block II configuration, which offers data transmissions at higher rates than the first three WGS spacecraft, all of which are in the Block I standard. WGS-6, the next WGS satellite in the series, has completed testing and is in storage awaiting its scheduled mid-2013 launch date, according to the release. WGS-7, -8, -9, and -10 are in various stages of production. (Includes Los Angeles release)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.