US Air Force Launches GPS Satellite Into Space Aboard Delta IV Rocket
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The US Air Force launched a GPS satellite aboard a Boeing Delta IV rocket at 8:10 a.m. this morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station‘s Launch Complex 37. The GPS is designed to join an existing suite of navigational tools in use by the military.
Boeing, which developed the USAF satellite, said it will provide highly accurate time, location and velocity information. Called GPS IIF-3, it is the third of 12 GPS satellites Boeing has built for the USAF. The satellite is more advanced than any other GPS put into space and will help guide troops on land, sea and in the air. It will also direct bombs and other weapons toward a target. The satellite is expected to maintain high-quality output for 12 years.
The USAF manages the navigation system to ensure there are at least 24 operational satellites in orbit at all times. The newly-launched satellite includes an improved military signal that is more resistant to signal jamming in hostile environments.
Today’s Delta launch was the ninth this year for United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The partnership was formed in 2006 to launch satellites for the Air Force, Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, and other government agencies.