USAF squadron takes control of WGS-9
The US Air Force’s (USAF) 4th Space Operations Squadron (4 SOPS) has taken over the operational control of the ninth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite (WGS-9), the USAF Space Command announced on 19 July.
As the backbone of the US military's global satellite communications, the WGS network provides flexible, high-capacity communications for US marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, government agencies and international partners.There are eight other WGS satellites currently orbiting in the constellation managed by 4 SOPS.
Lt. Col. Armon Lansing, 4 SOPS commander, said: ‘Wideband communication provides the capability to send a large amount of data through space.
'Just like your typical ground systems: dial-up versus broadband versus fibre optic, as you step up your capability, you can get more data through the system. One WGS satellite has as much data throughput as the former defence support communication satellite system had in the entire constellation.’
The Boeing-built WGS-9 was launched into orbit in March. The spacecraft underwent rigorous orbit and payload testing before being handed over to the air force.
This marks the first time the newly merged 4 SOPS squadron has assumed control of a WGS satellite; previous assumptions of control happened under the recently deactivated 3rd Space Operations Squadron.
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