RocketSTEM –16 March 2019
carrying the powerful new WGS-10 military satellite to orbit for the U.S. Air
Force providing critical real time tactical battlefield communications between troops
deployed in the field and commanders and analysts monitoring from across the
Global SATCOM-10 (WGS-10) mission for the U.S. Air Force finally took place at 8:26
p.m. EDT on Friday, Mar. 15, 2019 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
series of technical issues with the rocket and problems with the orbiting NASA TDRS
relay tracking satellite postponed the liftoff an hour and a half from the originally
planned near sunset launch time of 6:56 p.m. EDT.
time running out in the launch window closing at 9:05 p.m. engineers finally
resolved all the issues and cleared the rocket for launch with a countdown poll
and approval from the ULA launch director.
This launch was not to be missed and a sentimental favorite
because this member of the Delta rocket family is nearing the end of its glorious
16 year life – because it counts as the penultimate Delta IV medium class
rocket as it soared aloft from Cape Canaveral with the mighty military
communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force, at dinnertime Friday night.
our expanding Space UpClose gallery of eyewitness imagery from the Range Operation
Center on base and sound activated remote cameras placed inside the Launch Complex
feature in this advanced Block II series WGS satellite is inclusion of the
upgraded digital channelizer that nearly doubles the available bandwidth of
earlier satellites in the series.
can filter and downlink up to 8.088 GHz of bandwidth compared to 4.410 GHz for
earlier WGS satellites. It supports communications links in the X-band and
conditions were absolutely ideal for the large crowds of spectators gathered ringing
around the Florida Space Coast.
The Delta IV launched
eastward over the Atlantic Ocean and put on a stunning sky show under picture perfect
nighttime weather conditions.
Tourists from the across
the globe flocked to the Kennedy Space center area filling hotels and restaurants
thereby providing a much needed ‘space boost’ to the local ‘space coast’ economy.
Beaches and parks were packed
with excited spectators from near and far who got a great and long show of
awesome rocket power.
The next-to-last Delta IV Medium from the Florida Space
Coast successfully deployed the tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) communications satellite (WGS-10)
for the U.S. Air Force approximately 37 minutes after liftoff.
WGS-10 is on its way to
a designated but undisclosed slot to geostationary orbit some 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000
kilometers) above the equator.
WGS-10 is the tenth satellite in the Wideband Global SATCOM
(WGS) constellation for the U.S. Air Force providing critical global military communications.
Boeing is the prime contractor for the massive 13,200-pound
(6,000-kilogram) WGS satellites –
each costing some $400+ million.
help ensure our military personnel have communications capability anytime and
anywhere in the world,” said Rico Attanasio, director of Tactical Military
Satellite Communications Programs, part of Boeing’s Space and Launch business,
in a statement. “We also look forward to our continued partnership with the Air
Force as we expand the WGS fleet.”
was delivered to an initial supersynchronous
transfer orbit atop the ULA Delta IV Medium+ rocket.
marks the 38th launch of the Delta IV rocket.
foot tall Delta IV Medium+ rocket launched in the 5,4 configuration with a 5
meter diameter payload fairing and 4 solid rocket boosters to augment the first
stage. Northrop Grumman provided the four solid
The common booster
core for Delta IV is powered by the RS-68A main engine fueled by liquid oxygen
and RP-1 kerosene, and the Delta Cryogenic Second Stage is powered by the
RL10B-2 engine, both supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne.
the first stage provides approximately 1.8 million pounds of thrust.
the eighth Delta IV flight in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration; all of which
were used to launch the prior WGS missions. See our photos.
WGS-9 mission launched on March 18, 2017.
ULA has been the exclusive launch provider for all ten satellites
in the WGS constelation.
We are very proud to deliver this critical
asset to orbit in support of the U.S. and Allied warfighters deployed around
the world defending our national security,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice
president of Government and Commercial Programs, in a statement.
outstanding teamwork and dedication to mission success.”
Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system, developed by the Boeing Company, provides
wideband communications connectivity for U.S. and allied warfighters around the
successful launches since the company’s founding in 2006 as a joint venture of
Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
series are the most powerful US Air Force military
communications satellite ever built.
the entire WGS constellation has been launched by ULA on Delta IV medium
the tenth satellite in the WGS constellation that serves as the backbone of the U.S. military’s global satellite
Nation’s warfighters through procurement and operation of the satellite
constellation and the associated control systems,” according to the U.S. Air
communications for marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, the White House
Communication Agency, the US State Department, international partners, and
other special users.”
ULA Delta IV Medium class rocket poised for
liftoff on WGS-10 mission for the U.S. Air Force from Space Launch Complex-37 on March 15, 2019 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
final not to be missed launch of the Delta IV Medium rocket
is currently slated for 25 July 2019 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
will launch in the Delta IV Medium+ 4,2 configuration with a 4-meter
(13.1-foot) diameter payload fairing and 2 solid rocket boosters to augment the
retiring the Delta IV Medium because it is significantly more expensive to
produce compared to the Atlas V and not competitive in the marketplace compared
developing the new Vulcan Centaur rocket to replace both Delta IV and
eventually Atlas V.
will continue to fly the triple stick Delta IV Heavy with 5 launches on the
books at this time – all highly classified
for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) blasting off from both Cape
Canaveral and Vandenberg AFBs.
Watch for Ken’s continuing
onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
Learn more about the upcoming/recent ULA Delta 4 WGS-10, SpaceX Demo-1, Falcon 9 Nusantara Satu launch, USAF GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-16 launch
to ISS, NASA missions, ULA Atlas &
Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
16: “ULA Delta 4 WGS-10
launch, SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1 and Nusantara Satu launch, Dragon CRS-16 resupply launch to ISS, SpaceX
Falcon GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, upcoming SpaceX
Falcon 9 USAF GP3 3-01, NRO & USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX
Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander, Curiosity
and Opportunity explore Mars, NH at Pluto, Kuiper Belt and more,” Kennedy Space
Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings.
Photos for sale
Mars; The Search for Life & A Journey in 3-D.” 7 PM, Lawton C
Johnson Middle School, Summit, NJ: exploringlifeonmars.eventbrite.com