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Satnews Daily
June 25th, 2010

U.S.A.F.... Spatial Bridge For MILSATCOM Now Operational

WGS-3 satellite
[SatNews] The U.S. Air Force has announced that U.S. Strategic Command operationally accepted command and control of its third Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, WGS-3. This significant achievement reflects the successful collaboration between numerous organizations, including Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, and the Boeing Company.

WGS provides flexible, high-capacity communications for marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen throughout the world and is a key enabler of Command and Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, as well as battle management and combat support information functions. WGS-3 is the third of six planned satellites in the wideband constellation.

WGS-3 launch at Vandenberg AFB, California, December 5, 2009
WGS-3 launched from Cape Canaveral on the evening of December 5, 2009. The Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at SMC accepted delivery of WGS-3 from Boeing on March 1, 2010, following extensive ground and in-orbit testing. WGS-3 was then relocated to its final operational location. WGS-3’s payload configuration is now optimized to support operations. Upon the recommendations of AFSPC and SMDC/ARSTRAT, USSTRATCOM accepted Combatant Command authority for WGS-3 and assumed responsibility of the system.

WGS-3 is operated by the 3rd Space Operations Squadron at the 50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base, CO, under the operational command of Joint Forces Component Commander for Space at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The JFCC SPACE Joint Space Operations Center continuously monitors WGS-3's orbital safety and operational status, assisting USSTRATCOM with any performance issues

WGS-3 provides a bridge between CONUS and our forces in Europe, Africa, South America and parts of the Middle East as well as forces afloat in the Atlantic Ocean. WGS-3 is the last satellite to be procured via the Block I contract and is a significant milestone for the program.