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Reserve Airmen support successful Delta IV launch

The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the WGS-9 spacecraft aboard a ULA Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at 8:18 p.m. ET March 18, 2017, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The Air Force has been breaking barriers since 1947 and the successful WGS-9 launch marks an important occasion for the Wideband constellation as it is a major milestone in a 20-year multilateral partnership. (Courtesy photo/ULA)

The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the WGS-9 spacecraft aboard a ULA Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at 8:18 p.m. ET March 18, 2017, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The Air Force has been breaking barriers since 1947 and the successful WGS-9 launch marks an important occasion for the Wideband constellation as it is a major milestone in a 20-year multilateral partnership. (Courtesy photo/ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 920th Rescue Wing in partnership with the 45th Space Wing, supported United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the WGS-9 spacecraft aboard a ULA Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 here March 18.

Air Force Reserve Airmen launched and piloted an Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter to clear and secure the Eastern Range one-hour prior to the launch which their.

The WGS constellation is the highest-capacity military communications system in the U.S. Department of Defense arsenal. WGS supports a wide variety of missions for Combatant Commanders around the world to perform missions, from search and rescue efforts to military operations. Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center is the Air Force's center for acquiring and developing military space systems.

The addition of WGS-9 to the constellation will increase speed, reliability, and effectiveness for the warfighter, which enables the U.S. and international partners to more efficiently coordinate on missions in the air, on land and by sea.

The Air Force has been breaking barriers since 1947 and the successful WGS-9 launch marks an important occasion for the Wideband constellation as it is a major milestone in a 20-year multilateral partnership.

In January 2012, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and New Zealand signed a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding with the United States, agreeing to fund the procurement of the ninth WGS satellite. The U.S. is responsible for funding the launch, operation and sustainment of WGS-9. International partners will receive a proportional share of the bandwidth provided by the WGS constellation based on financial contribution.

According to Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and mission Launch Decision Authority, the fourth major launch operation on the Eastern Range this year, and second successful launch in just two and a half days, culminates many long hours and hard work by the entire mission team.

Editor's note: Information for this news story was compiled from a 45th Space Wing news article.