The 8th Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF has signaled controllers it is functioning properly after launching on Oct. 29, marking another step in the modernization of the satellite constellation that’s relied on by millions of people worldwide.
This was the fourth, and final, GPS IIF launch scheduled for the U.S. Air Force this year. Liftoff from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, occurred at 1:21 p.m. 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 modernization,” 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 modernization with improved accuracy and anti-jamming as well as bringing into service the new civil L5 signal.