US Delta IV rocket launches powerful military satellite

Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a communications satellite for the military tonight

Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a communications satellite for the military tonight

The United Launch Alliance rocket carrying the satellite successfully launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after being delayed about 30 minutes due to a technical issue.

According to Florida Today, the 217-foot-tall Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite was the Air Force's ninth spacecraft launched into orbit.

WGS-9 was delivered to a supersynchronous transfer orbit atop the ULA Delta IV Medium+ rocket.

Once in position more than 22,000 miles (35,400 km) above the equator, the satellite, known as WGS-9, will join a constellation that provides the military's highest capacity communications service.

The mission continued SpaceX's rebound from a Falcon 9 explosion last September during a test on the pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40. Bob Tarleton, director of Space and Missile Systems Center's Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate.

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WGS satellites support both X-band (weather monitoring, air and marine vessel traffic control, defense tracking, and vehicle speed monitoring) and Ka-band (close-range targeting on military aircraft) radar frequencies.

"WGS-9 launch marks an important occasion for the Wideband constellation as it is a major milestone in a 20-year partnership with Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and New Zealand", said Mr. Built by Space Systems Loral, the satellite is created to operate for at least 15 years.

The 10th and final member of the WGS constellation is targeted for launch in late 2018. At that altitude, satellites take 24 hours to complete one orbit and appear to hang stationary in the sky, allowing the use of fixed antennas on the ground along with line-of-sight communications with mobile forces.

The satellite was built by the United Launch Alliance, which also launched it. Boeing was the one to built it as it is a partner in the alliance.