A military Atlas V rocket rises into a starry sky as it lifts the first Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS SV-1) into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:22 p.m. on 10 October 2007 in this view from Patrick Air Force Base. The image shows the rocket streaking toward space while an Air Force surveillance plane, the white streak at right, patrols just offshore over the Atlantic Ocean.

Excerpts from a United Launch Alliance press release explain the mission:

The WGS SV-1 mission is the first installment of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. WGS will be an important element of a new high-capacity satellite communications system that will provide enhanced communications capabilities to our troops in the field for the next decade and beyond. WGS will enable enhanced and more flexible execution of Command and Control, Communications Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), battle management, and combat support information.

My thanks to the entire Atlas team for its dedication in bringing WGS SV-1 to launch, and to the USAF/SMC for selecting Atlas for this important mission.

Go Atlas! Go Centaur!

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