The first of five US defence communications satellites has been launched into orbit.

The Atlas V rocket was launched yesterday carrying a Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, which will cover the Pacific.

The new system will replace the Defence Satellite Communications System, which has been in use for the past 20 years.

The two systems will work together until all WGS satellites are fully functional, when the DSCS will be phased out.

Each spacecraft will cost US$350m.

By staff writer