Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. August 2, 2014 – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the seventh Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF (GPS IIF-7) satellite for the U.S. Air Force launched at 11:23 p.m. EDT yesterday from Space Launch Complex-41. This is the second successful ULA launch in just four days.
“Congratulations to the U.S. Air Force and all of our mission partners on the successful launch of the Atlas V carrying the GPS IIF-7 satellite,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “ULA launch vehicles have delivered all of the current generation of GPS satellites, which are providing ever-improving capabilities for users around the world.”
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A engine.
“This launch marks the third time this year ULA has successfully launched two missions within a week,” said Sponnick “The ULA team’s focus on mission success, one launch at a time, allows us to be ready when our customers are ready to launch.”
GPS IIF-7 is the seventh in a series of next-generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing satellites positioned in orbit above the Earth’s surface. The sixth GPS IIF was launched May 16, 2014, also from the Cape.
Created by the U.S. Department of Defense to enhance US military warfighting capability, GPS is available for use, free of charge, to anyone with a GPS receiver. U.S. and allied military forces use GPS devices in virtually every system to improve their capabilities and effectiveness while reducing risk to their forces and non-combatants. From finance to farming to tracking packages, use by the civilian community continues to grow rapidly and new commercial applications are continuously being developed.
The GPS IIF system brings next-generation performance to the constellation. The GPS IIF vehicle is critical to U.S. national security and sustaining GPS constellation availability for global civil, commercial and defense applications. Besides sustaining the GPS constellation, IIF features more capability and improved mission performance.
ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V WorldView-3 mission for DigitalGlobe scheduled for August 13 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.