Despite technical hitch Delta-IV Medium launches military communications satellite

by | Mar 21, 2017 | Launches, Military space, Satellites, Seradata News | 0 comments

Lifting off from Launch Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a Delta IV Medium (5,4) medium launch vehicle carried WGS 9 (Wideband Global Satcom) to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The launch occurred at 0018 GMT, 19 March following a half hour delay after a “swing arm” issue was detected and resolved by the ground teams. The launch was conducted by ULA (United Launch Alliance), which has launched all the WGS satellites, and since WGS 3 all of these flights have utilised the Delta IV Medium (5,4) variant. This variant sports a 5 m fairing, and four strap-on boosters attached to the Common Booster Core first stage.



Delta IV Medium lifts off carrying the WGS 9 military communications satellite. Courtesy of ULA

Delta IV Medium lifts off carrying the WGS 9 military communications satellite. Courtesy of ULA


The “single stick” Delta IV Mediums are currently planned to be phased out by ULA by 2019, with all medium-class payloads then launched by an Atlas V variant before that is in-turn replaced by the currently in development Vulcan rocket.

The WGS system is the follow on programme to the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) spacecraft launched for the US Air Force during the 80s and 90s. The spacecraft provide Super High Frequency (SHF), X-band and Ka-band capacity for US and allied forces. WGS 9 was ordered and paid for by other nations in order to gain access to the whole WGS network. Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg and New Zealand were the contributing nations for this unit. Australia was the first foreign nation to make use of this arrangement, and financed the construction of WGS 6, in exchange for network access. This spacecraft was launched in 2013.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

Lockheed Martin receives order for two more GPS 3A satellites worth US$395m

The United States Air Force (USAF) has exercised the fourth two-satellite option from its original GPS 3A block order, it was announced on Read more

FAA gives SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon launches environmental OK

The US Federal Aviation Administration has posted to the US governemnt's federal register today its environmental assessment that found no Read more

News bites Tuesday 11 March

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog written by Flight technical editor Rob Coppinger

ULA Atlas V launches NRO L-101

The US National Reconnaissance Office's NRO L-101 mission was launched successfully from the SLC-41 pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Read more

NASA gets serious about the Moon as it awards refueling and other demo contracts

NASA has formally awarded “Tipping Point” contracts worth a total of US$370 million to 14 firms to demonstrate new technologies Read more

US launch vehicles suffer sea of stand-downs & aborts…but Antares launched Cygnus NG-14 OK (Updated)

In what has been a very strange period for launch delays, multiple US government and commercial satellite launches have been Read more

AFRL NTS-3 sat to launch on a ULA Vulcan

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has confirmed that its experimental satellite NTS-3 will be launched by a United Read more

Cookies & Privacy

Click here to read about use of cookies on the website