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US Air Force's first next-gen GPS satellite enters service

The Delta IV rocket with the GPS IIF SV-1 satellite at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida before launch. An ULA photo

EL SEGUNDO, CALIFORNIA (BNS): US Air Force’s first of 12 next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites has successfully entered service nearly three months after its launch.

The new satellite, GPS IIF-1, has joined the already orbiting 31-satellite GPS constellation. The constellation provides accurate navigation, positioning and timing information to more than 1 billion military and civilian users around the world.

“The GPS IIF 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,” Boeing, the manufacturer of the new satellites, said.

The GPS IIF-1 was launched on May 27, 2010.

The satellite has undergone three months of comprehensive on-orbit testing to validate its operations with the ground control system, other GPS satellites and a wide range of military and commercial GPS ground receivers, Boeing said.

The satellite’s testing regimen was longer and more rigorous than usual because it is the first of the series, it added.

Boeing is producing 11 of the next-generation GPS IIF satellites.

US Air Force plans to launch a number of these satellites in the coming years to replace the existing GPS satellites which are operational since 1989.



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