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Artist's impresson of a WGS satellite in orbit
Mission type Communications
Operator US Air Force
COSPAR ID 2013-041A
SATCAT № 39222
Mission duration 14 years
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type WGS Block II
Bus BSS-702
Manufacturer Boeing
Launch mass 5,987 kilograms (13,199 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 8 August 2013, 00:29 (2013-08-08T00:29Z) UTC[1]
Rocket Delta IV-M+(5,4)
Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-37B
Contractor United Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geostationary
Longitude 104° east
Semi-major axis 42,171.00 kilometers (26,203.84 mi)
Eccentricity 0.001186
Perigee 35,750 kilometers (22,210 mi)
Apogee 35,850 kilometers (22,280 mi)
Inclination 0 degrees
Period 23.94 hours
Epoch 1 September 2013[2]

USA-244, or Wideband Global Satcom 6 (WGS-6) is an American military communications satellite operated by the United States Air Force as part of the Wideband Global Satcom programme. Launched in 2013, it was the sixth WGS satellite to reach orbit. It is stationed at a longitude of 104° east, in geostationary orbit. WGS-6 was procured by the Australian Defence Force for the US Air Force, in exchange for participation in the programme.[3]

Built by Boeing, USA-244 is based on the BSS-702 satellite bus. It had a mass at launch of 5,987 kilograms (13,199 lb), and was expected to operate for fourteen years. The spacecraft is equipped with two solar arrays to generate power for its communications payload, which consists of cross-band X and Ka band transponders. Propulsion is provided by an R-4D-15 apogee motor, with four XIPS-25 ion engines for stationkeeping.[4]

USA-244 was launched by United Launch Alliance, who placed it into orbit using an Delta IV Medium+(5,4) rocket, flight number D363. The launch took place from Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, with liftoff at 00:29 UTC on 8 August 2013.[1] The launch was successful, placing the WGS-6 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, from which the spacecraft raised itself into geostationary orbit using its onboard propulsion system. The satellite was designated USA-244 under the US military's designation system, and received the International Designator 2013-041A and Satellite Catalog Number 39222.[2][5]


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