The U. S. Air Force officials successfully launched the fifth Global Positioning System IIF satellite carried aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle at 8:59 p.m., EST, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Feb. 20.
The Boeing-built GPS IIF satellite will join the GPS constellation providing world class space-based positioning, navigation and timing capabilities to support users around the globe. The new capabilities of the IIF satellites will provide greater navigational accuracy through improvements in atomic clock technology, a more robust signal for commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications, known as the new third civil signal (L5), a second civil signal (L2C) available for the dual frequency GPS receivers and a 12-year design life providing long-term service. These upgrades improve anti-jam capabilities for the warfighter and improve security for military and civil users around the world.
“I am pleased with the outcome of today’s launch,” said Col. Bill Cooley, the director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s GPS directorate. “The new capabilities provided by the IIF satellites will improve operations, sustainment and overall GPS service for the warfighter, international, commercial and civil communities.”
“The modernized capabilities that are coming on board with the successful launch of GPS IIF-5 will support the worldwide GPS community for years to come,” he continued. “I would like to recognize the outstanding commitment and the superb dedication to mission success from the 45th and 50th Space Wings, our industry partners Boeing and United Launch Alliance, and the GPS IIF and Delta IV program teams at the Space and Missile Systems Center.”
GPS provides accurate real time position, navigation and timing services and plays a major role in information resources supporting a variety of civil, scientific and commercial functions on land, sea and air. Operated by the Air Force Space Command, the GPS constellation provides precise services worldwide 24 hours a day, and the Air force is committed to providing improved capabilities to ensure users around the globe receive the maximum benefits provided by GPS.
The AFSC’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the 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.