Communications spacecraft achieves major milestone
July 19, 2012
By Staff Report
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Department of Defense's newest addition to the Wideband Global SATCOM constellation, WGS-4, achieved a significant milestone with the successful completion of Payload Characterization and Verification, or PCV, recently.
The government-led event encompassed six weeks of payload characterization conducted by members of the WGS SATCOM System Expert office, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, the Australian Ministry of Defence personnel, and support contractors from Femme Comp. Inc. (FCI).
According to an Air Force fact sheet on the constellation, the WGS system is a constellation of military satellites that use commercial methods and technological advances in the communications satellite industry to provide support to the defense communication system; the Army's ground mobile forces; the Air Force's airborne terminals; Navy ships at sea; the White House communications agency; the State Department; and special users.
WGS-4 is the first of the Block II series of WGS spacecraft manufactured by Boeing. Block II spacecraft provide all the capabilities of Block I series, and also provides additional capacity to support high throughput requirements.
The PCV event provided the government the opportunity to characterize payload performance beyond specified capability as well as verify software models required for space link planning. Concurrent with the PCV efforts were special project tests of unique capabilities and user communities. The projects were also favorably completed and characterized for future potential implementation.
"The success and completion of this event was largely influenced by the skill, experience, and dedication of the PCV team," said Travis Inghram, test director for WGS-4 PCV, USASMDC/ARSTRAT.
Supporting team members critical to this success were the Joint SATCOM Engineering Center; Camp Parks Communications Annex; Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Lincoln Laboratories; D Company, 53rd Signal Battalion; 3rd Space Operations Squadron; Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific; Northrop Grumman; Exelis; and Boeing.
Test witnessing support for this event was provided by members of the MILSATCOM Space Program Office, including U.S. Air Force personnel, Aerospace and LinQuest.
"The majority of testing was conducted from the Pacific Command area of responsibility, and special thanks to them for hosting and supporting this effort," Inghram said.
WGS-4 will relocate to its operational location supporting U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command Area of Operations. The next WGS satellite, WGS-5, is projected to launch during the first part of 2013.