The United States Air Force announced the successful launch of its tenth Global Positioning System IIF (GPS) satellite on board the Atlas V spacecraft built by Colorado-based space company United Launch Alliance (ULA ).
The new GPS satellite, which was developed by Boeing for their Air Force, made its liftoff from Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida on Wednesday.
Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), said that the launch of the satellite demonstrates the successful teamwork between the U.S. government and its mission partners. He explained that the satellites are important in providing GPS constellation service internationally for years to come.
Greaves also acknowledged everyone involved in the mission, including the crew of SMC, the members of the 310th, 50th and 45th Space Wings, the Aerospace Corporation, United Launch Alliance and Boeing, for their efforts in sustaining and innovating the most advanced space-based service for accurate positioning, timing and navigation.
The series of GPS IIF satellites built by Boeing provide the government with improved signals used to support the military during combat situations as well as civilians for their global economic needs.
The new satellites feature improved accuracy courtesy of advanced atomic clocks, a design life that is considerable longer compared to earlier GPS satellites and a newly-developed operational third civil signal (L5), which is beneficial to safety-of-life applications and commercial aviation.
The Boeing GPS satellites is also set to continue providing modernized capabilities that were begun with previous GPS IIR missions such as an improved signal for military support.
Operated by members of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, the program for the GPS constellation provides users from around the world with navigation and positioning support for 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
The launch of the Air Force's tenth GPS satellite coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Global Positioning System reaching its full operational capabilities.
The Space and Missile Systems Center, which is located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in California, is responsible for developing and acquiring space systems for military use. Some of the technologies developed by the SMC include meteorological satellites, satellite communications, systems for space launch and range, networks for satellite control and the Global Positioning System.