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US sends new military satellite into orbit

Updated: 2013-08-08 16:42
( Xinhua)

US sends new military satellite into orbit

A US Air Force Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-6) mission lifts off on a ULA Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, August 7, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - The United States on Wednesday launched a new military satellite into the orbit, the latest of a communications network shared by Washington and its Western allies.

Atop a Delta 4 rocket, the sixth Wideband Global Satcom, or WGS, spacecraft blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:29 pm local time (0029 GMT). It rose into the sky and accelerated away high above the Atlantic Ocean, the US military said.

Built by Boeing and paid for by Australia, the 5987-kg WGS-6 satellite will join a military communications network shared by the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

The network will have 10 satellites in total, with 8 of which financed by the US Air Force, the WGS-6 funded by Australia and the rest one paid for by the five other partners.

The WGS satellites group will have 10 times the capacity of the earlier Defense Satellite Communications System it is replacing to better serve the United States and the six partners, according to the US military.

The new network will replay television broadcasts, video conferences, images and other high-bandwidth data to and from navies, ground forces and air forces, command centers of the US and several allies.

Dave Madden, head of military satellite communications of the US Air Force, said the new network will "provide tremendous flexibility".

"Where that really comes into play is the key capability of interoperability between various terminals and war fighters," he told reporters via a conference call.

The first WGS satellite was launched in 2007 and the US military now chose to invite allies to join the network due to a tightening budget.

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