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Production Contract for Seventh WGS Satellite: The Air Force has awarded Boeing a $1.09 billion contract for the production of the seventh Wideband Global Satellite Communications satellite and the long-lead-time items and materials for the eighth spacecraft in the series. Under this contract are subsequent options for the full production of the eighth and ninth WGS spacecraft, said USAF officials. Manufacture of WGS satellites began in 2000. Already the first three spacecraft are operating on orbit, providing simultaneous X-band and Ka-band communications capability to US military personnel around the globe. WGS-4, -5, and-6 are in production. The launch of WGS-4 is tentatively scheduled for early 2012, according to the officials. In August 2010, Boeing received the initial award for acquisition of the long-lead parts for WGS-7. (Los Angeles release)