The U.S. Space Force, Space and Missile Systems Center and its mission partners successfully launched the fourth Global Positioning Systems III satellite at 6:24 p.m., EST, Nov. 5 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The Lockheed Martin-built satellite was carried to orbit aboard a Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
“The launch of GPS III SV04 is a testament to SMC’s ability to rapidly and safely deliver new capabilities on orbit,” said Cordell DeLaPena, Air Force program executive officer for SMC’s Space Production Corps. “At SMC, we are proud to deliver our fourth GPS III satellite and will continue to operate at an accelerated pace to enhance the capabilities of the billions of users worldwide.”
“I’m proud of my team’s 83rd successful National Security Space Launch and look forward to our future missions with SpaceX,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, SMC’s Launch Enterprise director. “Ultimately, our ability to embrace innovation with our launch providers advances warfighter’s capabilities while lowering costs to the U.S. Government and its taxpayers.”
GPS III SV04 separated from its upper stage approximately 90 minutes after launch. Engineers and operators at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Facility will now begin on-orbit checkout and tests, which are estimated to complete in approximately one month. Operational use is expected to begin in a few months.
“The GPS III program continues to make strides in modernizing the GPS constellation for the U. S. Space Force while maintaining the gold standard for position, navigation and timing,” said Col. Edward Byrne, Medium Earth Orbit Space Systems Division chief.
GPS III SV04 will join the current GPS constellation comprised of 31-operational spacecraft. GPS III, the newest generation of GPS satellites, brings new capabilities to users, including three times greater accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities.
The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif., is the center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning systems, military satellite communications, a defense meteorological satellite control network, range systems, space-based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.