After receiving the go signal for using a used rocket to send the advanced GPA satellite for the US Space Force, SpaceX has successfully launched GPS III SV05 to space on Thursday, June 17, marking its 19th rocket launch this year.
The Space Force Space and Missiles Systems Center retweeted SpaceX's Twitter video of the moment. The deployment of the satellite to space was confirmed over an hour and a half later.
SpaceX Successfully Launched Space Force's Advanced GPS Satellite
The GPS III SV05 of the US Space Force was sent to orbit via SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 12:09 pm EST, according to Space.com.
Nine minutes after the launch, the first stage of the rocket touched down on the deck of the company's drone ship, called "Just Read the Instructions."
Sending the GPS satellite to space is the second launch mission so far for SpaceX this June, after sending the broadband satellite for Sirius XM on June 6.
Fortunately, the weather at the time of the launch was good, so onlookers were treated to a gorgeous view of the Falcon 9 rocket's launch as it climbed to orbit.
The launch also marks the fourth GPS satellite delivery by SpaceX for the US Military, in which three previous GPS missions were also launched on a Falcon 9 rocket. One GPS satellite mission was launched last August 2019 via SpaceX's competitor United Launch Alliance's final flight of the Delta IV Medium rocket.
Youmei Zhou, a SpaceX propulsion engineer, said that GPS helps people navigate through their phones or computer by mapping service or retrieving a location via a pin drop.
According to Spaceflight Now, GPS III SV05 is expected to maneuver into a 12,550-mile-high orbit and join the current constellation of satellites.
Space Force Plans to Launch 10 Upgraded GPS Satellites
As part of the US Military's effort to replace aging members of the current satellite constellation, they are planning to send ten upgraded GPS satellites to orbit. The next GPS satellite mission will also be launched by SpaceX next year.
The next generation Lockheed Martin-built GPS satellites also include novel technology and capabilities that will meet military needs to mitigate threats to GPS infrastructures, Fox Business reported.
Moreover, Lockheed Martin said that the satellites are the most powerful GPS satellites ever built, having three times greater accuracy and eight times increase anti-jam protection.
GPS III satellites are made with a modular design to allow easy installation of new technology and capabilities as technology changes or when there is a new mission.
The upgraded GPS satellites are designed to beam down higher-power signals that are jam-resistant and have additional broadcast frequencies that will make the GPS satellites more compatible with other similar satellites, according to the aerospace defense company.
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