The U.S. Air Force is scheduled to launch the fifth Boeing built Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Feb. 20.
The satellite, designated as space vehicle number 64, marks the first launch of a GPS satellite this year. The GPS IIF satellites incorporate greater navigational accuracy through improvements in atomic clock technology, an increased design life of 12 years, a new third civil signal (L5) to provide a more robust signal for commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications, and a second civil signal (L2C) available for the dual frequency GPS receivers.
The launch window opens at 8:40 p.m. EST, and will remain open for 19 minutes. GPS IIF-5 space vehicle will join the constellation of 31 operational satellites on orbit providing global coverage and overall performance of GPS services to users worldwide.
“Since the inception of GPS, the Air Force has constantly strived to work with industry and other countries to develop newer and better ways to use GPS signals. The launch of new capabilities is a critical part of the modernization plan to improve operations, sustainment and overall GPS service,” said Col. Bill Cooley, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Global Positioning Systems Directorate.
“Thanks to the phenomenal job by a team of dedicated, committed and professional individuals, we are ready to launch the next GPS IIF satellite,” he said.
While GPS is a military-procured and operated satellite constellation, it is recognized as a global utility. The United States provides this precise position, navigation and timing service free of charge to billions of users around the globe.
The Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force’s center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.