A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying the seventh Wideband Global Satellite communications spacecraft successfully launched from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., on July 23, according to a USAF release. WGS-7 is slated to enter operations in early 2016 after manufacturer Boeing completes on-orbit testing. “The WGS constellation continues to provide significant added capacity to our DOD space communications architecture,” said Lt. Gen. Sam?uel G?reaves, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center and USAF program executive officer for space. “WGS delivers crucial wideband communication to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and international partners around the globe.” Once cleared for operational use, the Air Force’s 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., will control the satellite. (See also WGS-7 Launch Postponed Due to Weather.)
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.