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Air Force Buys Ninth WGS Satellite: The Air Force exercised a $377 million contract option with Boeing toward the production of WGS-9, the ninth Wideband Global Satellite Communications satellite, announced service officials on Wednesday. This news came one day after the United States unveiled the new long-term partnership for WGS services with Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. The five partner nations are contributing $620 million of the approximate $1 billion needed to procure WGS-9 and place it in orbit around 2018. There are already three WGS satellites operating on orbit. WGS-4 is scheduled for launch this week and the next four in the series are in various stages of production. Last month, Boeing received $296 million toward the production of WGS-8. Maj. Gen. John Hyten, director of space programs in USAF's acquisition shop, told reporters Tuesday that Congress provided $326 million in Fiscal 2012 for a 10th WGS satellite, although the Air Force did not specifically request that funding. (See also SAF/PA report by TSgt. Chris Powell and Boeing release.)