8th GPS IIF satellite launched

By on 4 November, 2014
GPS IIF

Artist’s impression of a Block IIF GPS satellite in orbit.

 

The 8th Global Positioning System (GPS) block IIF satellite was launched on the 29 October from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The Boeing satellite has since signalled controllers that it is functioning properly.

This was the fourth, and final, GPS IIF launch scheduled for the U.S. Air Force this year. Liftoff occurred at 1:21 pm Eastern time, with signal acquisition about three and a half hours later. The satellite is to enter full operational service during December.

“The schedule this year has put the GPS team through its paces, with launches occurring approximately every three months to continue GPS modernisation,” said Dan Hart, vice president of Government Space Systems at Boeing Network & Space Systems. “We typically were processing two satellites concurrently at the Cape, requiring strong execution, an unrelenting focus on mission assurance, and solid team work with the Air Force and United Launch Alliance.”

The next GPS IIF launch is expected during the first quarter of 2015. The Air Force ordered 12 in total, and four remaining satellites are stored and maintained at the Boeing Satellite Development Center in El Segundo, Calif. The GPS IIFs are continuing modernisation with improved accuracy and anti-jamming as well as bringing into service the new civil L5 signal.

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