Delta 4 rocket to provide launch services for WGS 5
BY JUSTIN RAY
Posted: December 1, 2011
The fourth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is scheduled for blastoff from Cape Canaveral on Jan. 19 aboard the rocket. The Delta 4 also carried WGS 3 aloft in December 2009.
Now, the Air Force has announced a $150 million firm-fixed-price contract with ULA to launch the WGS 5 spacecraft aboard a Delta 4 rocket in early 2013 from Cape Canaveral.
The rocket will be constructed at ULA's factory in Decatur, Alabama, then delivered to the launch site for flight from Complex 37.
In a recent interview, Mark Spiwak, the WGS program director at Boeing, said the company expects to finish constructing WGS 5 next February for a targeted launch in January 2013.
With WGS satellites weighing about 6.5 tons at launch, a Delta 4 rocket flying in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration is required for hauling the craft into supersynchronous transfer orbits. That version of the modular rocket is distinguished by a five-meter composite nose cone, a similarly-sized cryogenic upper stage and a quad arrangement of strap-on solid rocket boosters.
The spacecraft's own onboard propulsion system then fired in the following days to circularize the orbit at 22,300 miles to match Earth's rotation in the geosynchronous belt.
The first two WGS satellites launched in 2007 and 2009 from the Cape aboard ULA's Atlas 5 rocket.