The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching Wednesday aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and sent signals confirming its health.
“Boeing, ULA and the Air Force successfully launched four GPS IIFs last year, the highest operations tempo in over 20 years, and today’s mission marks the first of three launches planned in 2015,” said Dan Hart, Vice President, Boeing Government Space Systems.
“As they enter service, the IIFs are advancing and modernizing the GPS constellation by improving accuracy, signal strength and anti-jamming capability. We are also introducing the L-5 civilian ‘safety-of-life’ signal intended mainly for aviation and transportation,” he added.
The GPS IIF-9, designated as SVN-71, will undergo on-orbit testing and checkout before beginning full operation.
Boeing has served as a prime contractor on GPS since the program’s inception, contributing multiple generations of GPS satellites and accruing more than 525 years of on-orbit operation.