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Atlas launches military communications satellite
Posted: Thu, Oct 11, 2007, 6:36 AM ET (1036 GMT)
An Atlas 5 launched the first in a new series of military communications satellites on Wednesday evening. The Atlas 5 421 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida at 8:22 pm EDT Wednesday (0022 GMT Thursday) and put the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) 1 spacecraft into geosynchronous transfer orbit. WGS-1, built by Boeing, is based on the Boeing 702 satellite bus, carries X- and Ka-band transponders, with 10 times the capacity of older DSCS-series military communications satellites. The spacecraft is the first of six planned for the system, formerly known as Wideband Gapfiller Satellite; the sixth was added to the system just last week as part of an agreement with Australia, who will fund the satellite in exchange for access to the satellite network. The launch was the first for the Atlas 5 since a June mission deemed a partial failure when a leaky valve caused the booster's upper stage to shut down prematurely and place a pair of classified spacecraft in a lower-than-planned orbit.
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