Boeing Space and Communications (S&C) has received $336.4 million in funding from the US Air Force to build the first two satellites in the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS) system.
The contract also includes long-lead material for a third satellite. With all options exercised, the contract for up to six satellites has a total potential value of $1.3 billion. WGS is said to be a multi-spacecraft constellation designed to provide improved communications support to America’s warfighters.
Boeing Satellite Systems, the satellite-manufacturing arm of Boeing S&C, will build the Boeing 702 model satellites in El Segundo, California. The first satellite is scheduled to launch in early 2004, with the second one to follow in 2005.
An earlier contract for $160.3 million covered design and advance parts procurement for WGS.
The WGS System Program Office at SMC last year received the Air Force’s John J. Welch Award for Excellence in Acquisition Management based on the program office’s pursuit of acquisition-reform strategies including commercial item acquisition methods. The WGS program also successfully passed the preliminary design review milestone last August.
Design will continue through this summer while the team begins producing payload units for integration into the satellite early next year. The ground control equipment is being developed in parallel. The first launch of a WGS satellite will take place aboard a Boeing Delta IV rocket provided by the Air Force through the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.