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Handover: The Air Force has taken control of the first Wideband Global Satellite Communications satellite from prime contractor Boeing, following completion of all contractor on-orbit checkout procedures, the company reported on Jan. 28. The 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., now controls the spacecraft and will relocate it to its operational location over the Pacific Ocean, according to Space and Missile Systems Center. “The launch and on-orbit testing activities have been superb, and we're really excited about getting this capability into the hands of our warfighters,” Col. Don Robbins, commander of the Wideband SATCOM Group, said in the SMC release. Boeing controlled the activities of the satellite from its Mission Control Center in El Segundo, Calif., from the time of its placement in orbit on Oct. 10, 2007 until the handover on Jan. 18 to the 3rd SOP. Boeing is building six WGS, which will succeed the Defense Satellite Communications System-III spacecraft and also reduce DOD’s reliance on commercial satellite communications services. One WGS satellite has about 12 times the bandwidth of a DSCS-III satellite. The second and third WGS spacecraft are slated for launch later this year.