Boeing satellite with over 1000 AM parts to increase capacity of communication services

March 10, 2022

An artist’s rendering of the WGS-11+, scheduled for delivery in 2024 (Courtesy Boeing)

Boeing has begun building the latest version of the Wideband Global SATCOM satellite system, WGS-11+, using advanced techniques like Additive Manufacturing to effectively integrate the latest commercial technology whilst enabling a five-year schedule that is expected to deliver results years faster than similar clean-sheet designs. The satellite system is planned to feature over 1000 additively manufactured parts with the majority being produced with aluminium alloy and titanium as well as high-performance polymer.

“We’re moving at record-breaking speed to deliver the unmatched resilience, efficiency, and throughput WGS-11+ offers our warfighters,” stated Col. Matt Spencer, Geosynchronous Earth Orbit and Polar Division Senior Material Leader at Space Systems Command. “Boeing’s ability to rapidly in­­­­­tegrate the latest commercial technology into our infrastructure gives us a competitive edge on the battlefield.”

Troy Dawson, VP – Government Satellite Systems, Boeing, added, “We’re printing more than a thousand parts for WGS-11+, giving us the capability to introduce customisation in a way that improves system performance, without requiring extensive integration times or customised tooling. We understand how important speed is to the mission, that production speed translates to effectiveness against threats. As we continue to invest our technology and processes, we know that a similarly capable satellite could be delivered even faster.”

Based on Boeing’s advances on its commercial 702X software-defined satellite payload, WGS-11+ is capable of generating hundreds of electronically-steered beams simultaneously, providing users with more than twice the mission capability compared to satellites within the existing WGS fleet. Like 702X, each individual beam is shapeable and can be tailored to different operations in an effort to enable mission flexibility and increase responsiveness. Narrower beam widths with dual polarisation unique to WGS-11+ help protect against jamming and interference while allowing greater frequency reuse.

When it joins the constellation of ten WGS satellites, WGS-11+ is expected to substantially increase the throughput capacity of essential communication services for the US government and its allies. It is scheduled for delivery in 2024.

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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