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USís new GPS satellite sends first signals from space
Posted On: Jul 18, 2011
CAPE CANAVERAL (BNS):
The US Air Force’s newly-launched advanced GPS satellite has transmitted first signals from space and is ready to begin on-orbit manoeuvres and operational testing in coming days.
The new GPS IIF-2 navigation satellite, redesignated SVN-63, was launched by a Delta IV rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral on Saturday morning.
The rocket placed the satellite into medium Earth orbit. Mission controllers confirmed initial contact with the spacecraft four hours after the launch at a ground station on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
“GPS IIF-2 is functioning normally and ready to begin on-orbit manoeuvres and operational testing,” Boeing, the manufacturer of the satellite, said, adding that GPS signals from the spacecraft payload will be turned on for test purposes in the coming days.
The GPS IIF-2 joins the Global Positioning System constellation of the US Air Force consisting of 32 operational satellites, including the GPS IIF-1 that was launched in May 2010.
The GPS IIF series of satellites offer new and enhanced capabilities, including a jam-resistant military signal, greater accuracy through improved atomic clock technology, and a protected civilian L5 signal to aid commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications. The new systems have longer life span than the previous generation of satellites.
Boeing has been contracted to build 12 GPS IIF satellites for the US Air Force.
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