Skip to main content

New US Military Communications Satellite Launches Today: How to Watch Live

Delta IV rocket Wideband Global SATCOM network
The ninth satellite to join the Wideband Global SATCOM network (WGS-9) is shown here, encapsulated inside a 5-meter (16 feet) payload fairing. The satellite is scheduled be launched into space atop a Delta IV booster from Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 37 on March 18, 2017. (Image credit: United Launch Alliance)

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket is scheduled to send a military communications satellite into orbit tonight (March 18). ULA will provide a live stream of the launch, and you can watch it right here on Space.com

The rocket will blast off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 7:44 p.m. EDT (2344 GMT). The launch window closes at 8:59 p.m. EDT (0059 GMT on March 19). The webcast will begin at 7:24 p.m. EDT (2324 GMT).

The rocket will carry a $442 million Boeing-built satellite that will join the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) network. These satellites provide a worldwide communications network for the U.S. military and its allies. The cost to build the satellite was covered by Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand, in exchange for access to the entire network, according to Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the 45th Space Wing.  [The Most Dangerous Space Weapons Concepts]

This will be the ninth satellite (WGS-9) to join the network. The WGS-8 satellite was launched in December 2016, and the tenth and final member of the WGS network is scheduled to launch in late 2018.

The mission also will be the 35th launch of the Delta IV since its inaugural launch in 2002, according to a statement from ULA.

The Wideband Global SATCOM 9 communications satellite for the U.S. military is encapsulated in the payload fairing of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket ahead of planned March 18, 2017 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Image credit: United Launch Alliance)

Follow Calla Cofield @callacofield. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

Calla Cofield
Calla Cofield joined the crew of Space.com in October, 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world. She'd really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Prior to joining Space.com Calla worked as a freelance science writer. Her work has appeared in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.