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September 26, 2013
IN THE lead-up to the launch of
the WGS-6 satellite aboard a Delta
IV rocket from Cape Canaveral on
August 7, WGCDR Patrick Del
Guidice's team was both nervous and
"Nervous, because launches very
rarely go exactly as planned and can
be delayed by hours, days, weeks or
even months depending on the issues,"
WGCDR Del Guidice said.
"Excited, as this was the satellite
Australia funded and, for Australia, it
was a major milestone in the project.
In the end, everything went exactly to
plan and the satellite was successfully
He said Australia's commitment
to the Wideband Global Satellite-
Communications (WGS) Project began
in November 2007 when it signed a
Memorandum of Understanding with
the US, making Australia the first
Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands and New Zealand have
now also come on board.
Australia agreed to fund the acqui-
sition and sustainment costs for satel-
lite number six, known as WGS-6,
totalling about $A800 million.
Australia's contribution to the
WGS constellation provides Australia
Sixteen ADF personnel are working in the US on Australia's contribution
to the Wideband Global Satellite-Communications Project,
WO2 Andrew Hetherington reports.
all goes to plan
with access to the first six WGS satel-
lites, globally distributed, until the
agreement ends in September 2029.
The ADF can use the communications
payload aboard these satellites to allow
deployed personnel to communicate
from the field to base locations and
back to Australia.
WGCDR Del Guidice, who is
the senior officer and one of five Air
Force members in an ADF group of
16 embedded with the US military in
Colorado, Nebraska and Hawaii,
witnessed the WGS-6 launch.
The ADF members come from all
three services, as well as one person
from the Australian Public Service.
One of the Air Force team mem-
bers is Communications Electronics
Technician CPL Thomas Weston,
who began working in Hawaii during
He assists with the control and
monitoring of the WGS systems.
"This involves me performing a
number of different functions, includ-
ing the control of the satellite payloads
and their transmissions," CPL Weston
"With payload control, I'm respon-
sible for the management of the health
and configuration of the satellites.
With transmission control, I'm respon-
sible for supporting the customers who
use the satellites."
CPL Weston said he applied for
his posting through the expression
of interest section for "hot jobs" in
"Before applying I was unaware of
how vast Australia's involvement with
the WGS project was," CPL Weston
"There were quite a large number
of selection criteria for this position,
all of which I was able to meet.
"I was always interested in work-
ing with a foreign military force and
wanted to expand my skills by learning
as much as I could from them."
The difference between this job and
his past roles is that this is more of an
operations role, with a small amount of
technical involvement with the equip-
ment he is operating.
"In past roles I have focused main-
ly on the technical and repair side of
the equipment, not the operating side,"
"This job can be very challeng-
ing at times, as the satellites and their
associated ground control equipment
are very complex systems, requiring a
large amount of training."
CPL Weston lives in Kapolei,
Hawaii, with his family.
"Even though the work hours are
long, it's an enjoyable and rewarding
place to live," he said.
"The best aspect of this job is the
fact that I have been exposed to and
learned about a complicated system
only a handful of ADF members have
been able to experience.
"I'd recommend this position to my
peers back home as it's a rewarding
To read more about the WGS-6 satellite
launch, visit http://nasatech.net/ntWGS-6_
PAGE.html and www.boeing.com/boeing/
wgs/wgs_factsheet.page for more informa-
tion on the WG satellites.
To view video of the WGS-6 Delta IV rocket
launch from August 7, visit www.youtube.
The WGS-6 satellite was
launched into space
aboard a Delta IV Medium
+ launch vehicle.
Length of Delta IV: 66
Engine: RL 10B-2 produc-
ing 24,750lb of thrust
Fuel: cryogenic liquid
READY TO GO: The Delta 4 rocket and its military
communications satellite payload ready for launch; right;
WGS-6 awaiting shipment for integration into the rocket.
Photos: Justin Ray/ Spaceflight Now and Boeing
one of five
WORLD Space Week will remind
us of the achievements that con-
tinue to provide ADF warfighters
with sustainable space-based and
So says Head of Capability
Development Systems within the
Capability Development Group,
MAJGEN John Caligari.
The United Nations has declared
October 4-10 as World Space Week.
"Defence capabilities, whether
employed in Australian or coalition
military operations, have become
critically dependant on space and
space-based systems," MAJGEN
"This dependency makes both
the space environment and assured
access to space systems important."
World Space Week is an inter-
national celebration of science and
technology and their contribution to
Our chance to reflect
the betterment of the human
In 1999 the UN General
Assembly declared that World
Space Week would be held each year
from October 4-10.
These dates commemorate two
significant events in space history:
October 4, 1957: Launch of the
first human-made Earth satellite,
Sputnik 1, which opened the way
for space exploration.
October 10, 1967: The sign-
ing of the Treaty on Principles
Governing the Activities of States
in the Exploration and Peaceful
Uses of Outer Space, including
the Moon and Other Celestial
This year the UN is celebrating
50 years of women in space, with
2013 marking the 50th anniversary
of the first space flight by a woman,
cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova,
on June 16, 1963.
World Space Week will be held
from October 4-10.
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