Launched by the United Launch Alliance, the Delta IV rocket is carrying the seventh of 10 United States Air Force satellites into orbit.
It has been reported that on Wednesday, a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Medium+ vehicle will liftoff by using a new main engine for the first time on a rocket of its type.
This video shows the satellite being mated to the Delta IV rocket.
The rocket detached from its satellite payload about 42 minutes after launch while in the skies east of Madagascar.
In an unusual partnering arrangement with the U.S. Air Force, Australia paid $707 million for the WGS-6 satellite, which was launched in 2013.
At 11 a.m. today, the United Launch Alliance began rolling back the windows at the service tower at the Launch Complex 37, revealing the rocket together with its payload, which is the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite, the seventh of the Air Force.
Over the next three months, small on-board thrusters will be used to raise the low point of the transfer orbit and the relay station eventually will be moved into an operational slot 22,300 miles above the equator.
“Every WGS that we deliver increases the ability of U.S. and allied forces to reliably transmit vital information”, said Dan Hart, Boeing vice president, Government Satellite Systems.
“Our forces need communications”, Rico Attanasio, Boeing director of Military Satellite Communications, told reporters before launch. “More and more, WGS is what puts it there”.
The Boeing-built satellite allows for joint operations anywhere on Earth to communicate with military troops, disaster relief efforts and the White House 24-hours a day. These launches were related to Delta 4- Heavy Upgrade initiative.
Improvements since the first satellite launched in 2007 will enable the one launched Thursday, called WGS-7, to provide 17% more bandwidth than its predecessors. ULA, a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, was formed in December 2006.