WGS-4 Encapsulated in Payload Fairing

Engineers have mated the Air Force’s fourth Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft with its payload fairing in preparation for the satellite’s scheduled launch next month. The satellite is set to go into orbit on Jan. 19 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket fired from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. The encapsulation procedure took place on Dec. 15 at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Fla., which is right by Cape Canaveral. The Air Force already operates a constellation of three WGS spacecraft in the Block I configuration. WGS-4 is the first in the series of Block II spacecraft featuring enhanced capabilities. WGS satellites support simultaneous X-band and Ka-band communications and are the military’s only on-orbit communications system capable of this. WGS-4 arrived at Cape Canaveral in mid November. (Los Angeles release) (See also Globalizing Wideband.)