March 24, 2015 – The U.S. Air Force and its industry partners are scheduled to launch the ninth Boeing-built Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle, March 25. The launch window opens at 12:36 p.m. MDT and will remain open for 18 minutes.
This is the first of three GPS IIF space vehicles scheduled to be launched this year. The first eight of the twelve GPS IIF satellites are currently on-orbit and meeting all mission requirements. The Boeing-built GPS IIF satellites add a new third civil signal (L5) for commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications, improved navigational accuracy through advanced atomic clocks and a longer design life than its prior GPS satellites.
“Significant investments to modernize the GPS constellation are in work, to include higher power from space, military receivers that are more resistant to jamming, new encryption algorithms, key management agility, and innovative software processing to increase resistance to spoofing,” said Brig. Gen. Bill Cooley, director of Space and Missile Systems Center’s Global Positioning Systems Directorate. “We are focused on mission success and stand ready to launch the ninth GPS IIF space vehicle, this will continue modernization of the GPS constellation and maintain the high level of accuracy required by the GPS system,” he said.
The GPS constellation is healthy, stable and robust with 30-operational satellites orbiting the Earth delivering improved and enhanced GPS capabilities to our warfighting forces and the nation. Operated by U.S. Air Force Space Command, the GPS constellation provides precise positioning, navigation and timing services worldwide seven days a week, 24-hours a day.
Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force’s center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.
Air Force Space Command’s 50th Space Wing, located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, operates and controls the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.