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NASA launches a new GPS satellite: Is GPS 2.0 here?

The fifth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellite has been successfully launched on Thursday, Feb. 20. The GPS satellite launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and boasts new world class space-based positioning, timing capabilities, and navigation to support users around the world.




By Annika Darling, The Space Reporter

The fifth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellite has been successfully launched. At 8:59 p.m. EST, Thursday, Feb. 20, the GPS satellite launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., via United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle.

“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 new capabilities Col. Bill Cooley is referring to are quite elaborate, and will provide world class space-based positioning, timing capabilities, and navigation to support users around the world.

The GPS IIF satellite was built by Boeing, and its improved atomic clock technology promises to provide greater navigational accuracy, as well as a more robust signal for commercial aviation. The satellite will be providing a second civil signal (L2C) which is available for dual frequency receivers, and will include the addition of a third civil signal (L5) which contains safety of life applications. Another integral and exciting upgrade is the satellites 12-year design life, which will provide long-term service. The upgrades improve security and improve anti-jam capabilities for warfighters.

“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,” Col. Bill Cooley was reported saying. “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 plays a major role in many of our lives. Along with providing accurate real time positioning, timing services and navigation it is an integral information resource which supports a number of scientific, civil and commercial functions on land, sea and air.

The GPS constellation is operated by the Air Force Space Command (AFSC) which provides worldwide services 24 hours a day and is a committed to users around the globe, ensuring maximum benefits and continually improving capabilities.

Located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in California, AFSC’s Space and Missile Systems Center is the Air Force’s mecca for developing this kind of excellence. It has worked on and continues to improve upon, not only GPS, but other space systems such as space launch and ranch systems, military satellite communications, satellite control networks, defense meteorological satellites, space situational awareness capabilities, and space based infrared systems.




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About Wayne Farley

Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, an aviation safety evangelist who once made my living working in the control tower. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from the aviation world. After writing "13 Characteristics of an air traffic controller" in 2010, it went viral and established me as an unofficial ambassador for ATC.

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