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Rocket launches US Air Force satellite

The Delta-IV rocket carrying the SATCOM3 satellite blasts off from Cape Canaveral. Image credit: United Launch Alliance

CAPE CANAVERAL (AP/PTI): A rocket carrying a US Air Force satellite that will be used by the military has been launched from Cape Canaveral.

The rocket blasted off Saturday evening from the Cape Canaveral Air Force station after thick clouds, heavy rains and a system problem postponed two earlier attempts.

The rocket is carrying the Air Force's Wideband Global SATCOM3 satellite. This is the last launch of a group of three satellites used by the military for strategic purposes.

According to Maj. Mark hadley, mission manager of USAF's WGS-3 (third wideband Global SATCOM) communication Spacecraft, this will be major boost to the US defence systems.

"This satellite communication system will be an upgraded genext technology for our fighters," Hadley said in a media report.

The first, launched in 2008, covers the Pacific Ocean.

A second, launched earlier this year is over the Indian Ocean and is used by commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq and other parts of southwest Asia.

This satellite will be positioned over the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) provides essential communications services for defence personnel to command and control their tactical forces. Tactical forces rely on WGS to provide high-capacity connectivity into the terrestrial portion of the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN).

WGS thus increases the communications capabilities of armed forces in battlefield.

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