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US Air Force launches telecom satellite

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Washington: A Delta IV rocket has successfully launched a Wideband Global SATCOM 5 satellite of the US Air Force from Cape Canaveral.

The US Air Force’s satellite is headed for a geostationary orbit off the east coast of the US and will take several months to reach it, Spaceflightnow.com reported.

The launch, conducted by Lockheed Martin-Boeing’s joint venture United Launch Alliance, was postponed by a day due to problems with the helium pressurization system at the launch pad, Satnews.com said.

The satellite, which costs $342 million and weighs almost 6,000 kg, is the fifth installment in a high capacity communications system co-developed by US and Australian defence agencies.

It can transmit data at a bandwidth of 3.6 gigabytes per second.

The first launch in the project was conducted in 2007. One more satellite in the system is due to launch in August, and four more are in the works.