|An Atlas V rocket successfully carried an Air Force GPS satellite into orbit. (Credit: ULA)|
On August 1, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocketsuccessfully launched an Air Force GPS-IIF satellite in the orbit. This is the seventh GPS-IIF satellite launched into orbit of a planned constellation of 12 satellites. This satellite is the third launched in 2014, with one more launch planned for later this year.
The GPS-IIF satellites, which are built by Boeing , are intended to replace the GPS-IIA satellites, which were launched in the 1990s. Operating in medium-Earth orbit, these next-generation GPS satellites include improved atomic clocks for more accurate readings. They also add a third civil signal to the GPS system, the L5, which is geared towards providing information for aircraft travel. L5 began broadcasting in April of 2014.
This successful launch marks the second launch in just four days for United Launch Alliance, which placed three Air Force satellites into orbit earlier in the week. That’s the third time this year that ULA has launched two missions in just one week.
The Atlas V rocket successfully launched at 11:23pm EDT on August 1, and carried the GPS satellite to an orbit 11,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. Over the next several weeks, the Air Force will work to verify that the satellite is fully operational before placing it into service in the GPS system.
The ULA’s next launch is on August 13, where it will put Digitalglobe’s Worldview-3 satellite into orbit.
You can watch a video of the successful launch below:
8/03/2014 @ 12:33AM