The 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., assumed control authority of WGS-4, the Air Force’s fourth Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft. The July 30 transfer of satellite control authority to the squadron from the Space and Missile Systems Center, the service’s space acquisition arm, is the last step before the Air Force releases the sophisticated communications satellite to US Strategic Command as the satellite assumes on-orbit operations, according to a Schriever release. Since its launch into space on Jan. 19, WGS-4 has undergone a series of tests and checkouts. WGS-4 is the first WGS satellite in the Block II configuration; it supports data transmissions at much higher rates than the first three WGS spacecraft. “This vehicle brings significant increases in bandwidth and capability to the warfighter,” said Lt. Col. Chadwick Igl, 3rd SOPS commander. The Air Force took control of the satellite from prime contractor Boeing in April. (Schriever report by Scott Prater)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.