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US Air Force launches next-gen GPS satellite

The Delta IV rocket carrying the GPS IIF SV-1 satellite takes off from the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida on Friday. A ULA photo

CAPE CANAVERAL (BNS): The US Air Force on Friday successfully launched the first of its new-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite into space.

The GPS IIF SV-1 spacecraft blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre at 0300 hours on Friday on board a Delta IV rocket, the United Launch Alliance, which conducted the launch, said.

After travelling for nearly three hours and 33 minutes, the new satellite “joined a worldwide timing and navigation system utilising 24 satellites, in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane, positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth’s surface,” the ULA said.

The GPS IIF SV-1 is the first next-generation GPS sent to space. A dozen of other such satellites will be launched in the coming years to replace the existing GPS satellites which are operational since 1989.

The new satellite will be used for national security and navigation purposes.

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