LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- The launch of a Delta IV Medium rocket carrying the GPS IIF-2 payload for the Air Force, previously scheduled for Thursday, is being postponed 24 hours to allow the GPS spacecraft team time to complete assessment and coordination of satellite readiness to launch.
The launch is rescheduled for Friday from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. , at the opening of a 19-minute window at 2:45 a.m. EDT. The forecast for Friday shows a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch.
"This mission represents the efforts of a combined Government and Industry team," said Col. Bob Hodgkiss, GPS IIF-2 launch mission director and director of the Space and Missile Systems Center's Launch and Range Systems Directorate. "We look forward to a successful launch and the safe delivery of a new GPS satellite to our operational customers. "
Space Vehicle Number 63 will join the 11 GPS IIAs, 12 GPS IIRs, 8 GPS IIR-Ms and the first GPS IIF (SVN-62) satellite currently on-orbit. SVN-62 is performing its navigation mission well with the best atomic clock performance ever seen on-orbit. GPS IIF-2 will provide improved accuracy through advanced atomic clocks, a longer design life than the previous generation of GPS satellites, and a more robust signal for commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications known as the third civil signal (L5). It will also continue to deploy the modernized capabilities that began with the GPS IIR satellites including a more robust military signal.
Since its conception in the 1970s, the United States Air Force and Air Force Space Command have procured, operated and maintained the GPS capability on behalf of the Department of Defense as well as the billions of users worldwide.
"To ensure long-term viability, the Air Force has begun a modernization phase that includes technology upgrades to the space, control and user segment to improve GPS accuracy, integrity and signal availability to users around the globe," said Col. Bernie Gruber, director of SMC's Global Positioning Systems Directorate. "We are committed to maintaining our current level of service while at the same time, improving service and capability through on-going modernization efforts. "
GPS is a key component for today's economic growth, transportation safety, homeland security and is critical to our national infrastructure. Location-based service, search and rescue operations, seismic monitoring, precision agriculture and ranching rely on GPS. Banking systems, surveying systems, phone systems and computer networks are all synchronized using GPS timing.