Did ULA Launch a Spy Satellite With a Delta IV Rocket?

United Launch Alliance

On Saturday night, United Launch Alliance launched a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37. This mission, designated WGS-9, placed a Wideband Global SATCOM satellite into a super-synchronous transfer orbit for the United States Air Force. This WGS satellite is the ninth in a satellite constellation used by the United States, Canada, and Australia for a wide range of military communication purposes. Spaceflight Now reports that this latest satellite is unique in that Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and New Zealand all contributed to its construction and will share in its use.

The Air Force is pretty vague about specific applications. According to Spaceflight Now, this satellite’s service area is undisclosed. It seems pretty safe to say that this is a spy satellite.

Saturday’s launch was ULA’s 35th successful Delta IV mission. It was also the seventh flight of the Delta IV Medium+ (5,4) configuration. This heavy-duty configuration has a five-meter diameter payload fairing and four solid rocket motors.

United Launch Alliance

The WGS-9 satellite will slip into a geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth’s equator over the next three months, at which point it will begin testing before entering service.

The first WGS satellite went up in October 2007, and WGS-10, the final satellite in this constellation, is set to go up late next year on a Delta IV.

You can watch the launch here:

Related Tags