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Wideband Satellite Family Gets Wider: The Air Force recently exercised a $296 million contract option with Boeing for production of WGS-8, the eighth Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft, announced service space officials Wednesday. This option builds upon the $58 million that Boeing received in August for the long-lead-time parts and activities associated with fabrication of WGS-8, bringing the cost of this satellite to $354 million, they said. WGS-8 acquisition is part of the WGS Block II follow-on contract that encompasses WGS-7, -8, and -9. Already the Air Force operates three WGS Block 1 satellites in geosynchronous orbits. They support simultaneous X-band and Ka-band communications for US military personnel across the globe. WGS-4, the first, more capable Block II spacecraft, is scheduled for launch into space next month from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. WGS-5, -6, and -7 are currently in various stages of production.