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Wideband Global SATCOM.jpg
Artist's impression of a WGS-5 satellite in orbit
Wideband Global SATCOM-5
Mission typeMilitary communications
OperatorUnited States Air Force / United States Space Force
COSPAR ID2013-024A
SATCAT no.39168
Mission duration14 years (planned)
8 years, 1 month and 8 days (in progress)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeWGS Block II
ManufacturerBoeing Satellite Systems
Launch mass5,987 kg (13,199 lb) [1]
Dry mass3,000 kg (6,600 lb)
Power11 kW
Start of mission
Launch date25 May 2013, 00:27 UTC
RocketDelta IV M+ (5,4) (s/n D362)
Launch siteCape Canaveral, SLC-37B
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeGeostationary orbit
Longitude52.5° West (Contiguous United States)
BandX-band and Ka-band
Frequency7.2/8.4 GHz (X-band) 30/20 GHz (Ka-band)
WGS-5 logo.png

USA-243, also known as WGS-5, is an United States military communications satellite. It was the fifth satellite to be launched as part of the Wideband Global SATCOM program,[2] and the second Block II satellite.[3]


The WGS system is a constellation of highly capable military communications satellites that leverage cost-effective methods and technological advances in the communications satellite industry. The WGS system is composed of three principal segments: Space Segment (satellites), Control Segment (operators) and Terminal Segment (users). Each WGS satellite provides service in multiple frequency bands, with the unprecedented ability to cross-band between the two frequencies onboard the satellite. WGS augments other satellites.[4]

In early 2001, a satellite communications industry team led by Boeing Satellite Systems was selected to develop the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS) system as successors to the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) series of communications satellites. This satellite communications system is intended to support the warfighter with newer and far greater capabilities than provided by current systems. In March 2007, the acronym WGS was changed to Wideband Global SATCOM.[5]

Just one WGS satellite provides more SATCOM capacity than the entire legacy Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) constellation.[4]

As the backbone of the U.S. military's global satellite communications, Wideband Global SATCOM Satellite (WGS) system provides flexible, high-capacity communications for the Nation's warfighters through procurement and operation of the satellite constellation and the associated control systems. WGS provides worldwide flexible, high data rate and long haul communications for the Department of Defense (DOD), governmental organizations and international partners.[4]

Satellite description

Constructed by Boeing Satellite Systems, WGS-5 is based on the BSS-702HP satellite bus. It had a mass at liftoff of 5,987 kg (13,199 lb),[1] and a design life of fourteen years.[5] Its two solar panels generate upwards of 11 kW of power.[5] The satellite is equipped with X-band and Ka-band transponders. A R-4D bipropellant rocket motor and four XIPS-25 ion engines provide propulsion.[6]


WGS-5 was launched by United Launch Alliance. A Delta IV M+ (5,4) launch vehicle, Delta 362, was used to place it into a supersynchronous transfer orbit, from which the satellite was maneuvered into geostationary orbit.[6] It was launched from Space Launch Complex 37B (SLC-37B) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) at 00:27 UTC on 25 May 2013. A launch attempt 24 hours before was cancelled because of a problem with a helium pressurization line.[3] The launch was successful.[7]


  1. ^ a b "WGS-5 Delta IV Mission Overview" (PDF). United Launch Alliance. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Communications satellite launched into space". NBC News. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Delta IV rocket launches from Cape Canaveral". Central Florida News 13. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Fact Sheets: Wideband Global SATCOM Satellite". United States Space Force. October 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2021. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b c "WGS 4, 5, 6, 7 (WGS Block 2)". Gunter's Space Page. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b Graham, William (24 May 2013). "ULA Delta IV successfully lofts WGS-5 satellite". Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  7. ^ Ray, Justin (25 May 2013). "Delta Mission Report - Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
This page was last edited on 26 May 2021, at 06:40
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