Launch of First GPS III Satellite Begins Modernization of the GPS Constellation

SpaceX launches Air Force’s best GPS yet ends banner year

A rocket carrying a USA military navigation satellite blasted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral yesterday, marking the space transportation company's first national security space mission for the US.

Later on Sunday, Lockheed Martin, who built the satellite, confirmed the GPS III space vehicle had begun receiving and responding to commands.

The 31 now operational Global Positioning System satellites belong to four different iterations - Block IIA, which launched from 1990 to 1997; Block IIR, which lifted off from 1997 to 2004; Block II-RM, which launched from 2005 to 2009; and Block IIF, which took to the skies from 2010 to 2016.

SpaceX announced the news on its Twitter account, where it said, "All systems and weather are go for today's Falcon 9 launch of the GPS III SV01 satellite".

The satellite was deployed to its intended orbit approximately one hour and 56 minutes after lift-off.

The GPS III satellite is a next-generation version satellite that will significantly aid the US Air Force in more precise geolocation services.

SpaceX was initially scheduled to launch on Tuesday, while Vice President looked on from Kennedy Space Center.

In September, the Air Force selected Lockheed Martin for the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, an estimated $7.2 billion opportunity to build up to 22 additional GPS IIIF satellites with additional capabilities. The new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite broadcasting a compatible signal with other worldwide global navigation satellite systems, like the European Union's Galileo system.

The successful GPS III SV01 mission marked SpaceX's 21st and final launch of 2018, beating the company's 2017 flight rate of 18 launches. GPS IIIF builds off Lockheed Martin's existing modular GPS III, which was created to evolve with new technology and changing mission needs. The original launch window was 8:55 a.m. The last planned launch was cancelled on Saturday due to strong winds.

Related News:

  • Mattis wishes troops 'Merry Christmas' ahead of departure

    Mattis wishes troops 'Merry Christmas' ahead of departure

    Historically when a secretary has resigned , he has stayed on until a successor is confirmed. President Donald Trump listens to questions from reporters about an impending U.S.
    US government workers unpaid on third day of shutdown

    US government workers unpaid on third day of shutdown

    Shutdowns are unpopular, and politicians typically try to shift the blame for running out of funding to the other party. The House and Senate gaveled in for a brief Christmas Eve session Monday only to close up quickly for the holidays.
    Man Utd caretaker boss will 'get players enjoying football' again

    Man Utd caretaker boss will 'get players enjoying football' again

    A club statement read: " Manchester United announces that manager Jose Mourinho has left the club with immediate effect". Solskjaer then went on to reminisce his debut appearance at Old Trafford and how the place quickly became home for him.
  • Justice 'Recuperating' After Cancer Surgery, Released From Hospital

    Justice 'Recuperating' After Cancer Surgery, Released From Hospital

    Giuseppe Giaccone, an oncologist at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. The liberal justice was appointed to the court by Bill Clinton in 1993.
    Erdogan, Trump to 'coordinate' as United States  pulls out of Syria

    Erdogan, Trump to 'coordinate' as United States pulls out of Syria

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to dislodge the Kurdish fighters from along its border with Syria. The heightened military activity comes as Ankara and Washington have agreed to coordinate on the US withdrawal.
    Tobacco Giant Altria Takes $13 Billion Stake In Juul Labs

    Tobacco Giant Altria Takes $13 Billion Stake In Juul Labs

    Food and Drug Administration is ramping up efforts to restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarettes which appeal largely to children. Under the agreement, Altria's only entry into the e-cigarette market will be through Juul for at least six years.
  • Trump Moves Towards Shutdown Over Wall Funding

    Trump Moves Towards Shutdown Over Wall Funding

    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy outside the White House, said Trump wanted any spending agreement to secure the U.S. border. Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh expressed similar dismay at the prospect of Trump conceding on the wall.
    4 things to know about Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria

    4 things to know about Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria

    Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria expert at the Institute for the Study of War, said the withdrawal is likely to create new problems. CBS said it was told the White House had ordered the Pentagon to "begin planning for an immediate withdrawal".
    Kingdom Hearts III director asks fans not to share game\'s spoilers

    Kingdom Hearts III director asks fans not to share game\'s spoilers

    Yesterday, word spread on Twitter that a retail version of the game was out in the wild, a full month and a half before launch. From the trailer, we know that the game touches on familiar themes like stolen hearts, worlds, destinies, and returning home.
  • Nasdaq in bear market, first of the three major USA  indexes

    Nasdaq in bear market, first of the three major USA indexes

    The Dow was down 1,655 points or 6.9 percent for the week, the largest weekly loss since October 2008. That sent the price of gold higher, and it gained 0.9 percent to $1,267.9 an ounce.
    We are five days away from a federal government shutdown

    We are five days away from a federal government shutdown

    Even though the country faces a much smaller shutdown than the last major one, in 2013, plenty of Americans would take notice. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents would still work, and air travel would continue virtually unaffected.
    Chinia, Russia 'corrupt' in Africa

    Chinia, Russia 'corrupt' in Africa

    Between 1955 and 2006, USA aid to Africa was roughly equal to the amount of assistance provided by all other donors combined. Russia, too, he said, seeks to increase its influence in the region through "corrupt economic dealings".


Most liked

Fans are outraged Redskins cut D.J. Swearinger after he criticized team
He was signed to the Cards' practice squad on December 2, 2015, and a week later was promoted to the active roster. He's also a Pro Bowl level talent, which is something the Kansas City Chiefs are lacking in their secondary.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sets Paul Pogba challenge after Huddersfield double
The Norwegian took charge of his first game on Saturday, leading his former side to a 5-1 win. "You earn it by your performances, by your training, how you feel".

Prince George and Princess Charlotte break royal tradition on Christmas
The Duchess gushed about becoming a mum for the first time, admitting that she was incredibly excited. Meghan and Harry were all smiles as they walked alongside William and Kate .

Shoppers head to South Florida malls for last-minute Christmas gifts
All stores across the nation will be closed on Christmas Day so employees can celebrate with their families. Eating out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can be hard , as a lot of places are closed for the holiday.

Donald Trump's border wall blocked by details
The Senate had already passed legislation ensuring that workers will receive back pay, and the House was likely to follow suit. The Democrat-led Senate refused to entertain the House provisions, while the House refused to go forward without them.

Wolves 0-2 Liverpool - As it happened and social media reaction
It was flawless football, especially on a night when it was hard to play proper football. Especially with the rain tonight, heavy rain, it made it a little bit more complicated.

Partial government shutdown has minimal impact locally
In the Transportation Department, thousands of air traffic controllers will keep planes moving during the busy holiday season. Food stamps and subsidized lunches will continue to be provided, though an extended shutdown could change that; the U.S.

Marvel's Spider-Man fans woot over free Sam Raimi suit
Insomniac Games made a special announcement on Twitter today regarding the latest update for Marvel's Spider-Man. You might've assumed this would happen in a Star Trek movie but friends and neighbors, it did not.

China says Canadian woman being punished for working illegally
Meng has since been released on bail and is to return to court early next year for what could be an extended legal proceeding. China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and China-based business consultant Michael Spavor on December 10.

Pochettino interested in Manchester United job
And it's Spurs boss Pochettino that Neville suggests should be next permanent United manager, despite his failure to win a trophy at Tottenham .

The Trump Foundation is closing, but it’s not off the hook
Trump's foundation in 2013 gave $25,000 to And Justice For All, the political committee for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Underwood's lawsuit against Trump and his three oldest children for violating state charity law will move forward.

Huawei launches Nova 4 with hole-punch display and 48MP rear camera
Huawei has officially lifted the veil off the Nova 4 , its new mid-range smartphone with an all-screen display. As far as front-facing camera is concerned, the Nova 4 is expected to offer a massive 25MP selfie camera.

Ex-Trump aide Flynn does not deserve jail, lawyers say
Around the same time, President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges. In total, Flynn met 19 times with the special counsel's office and others, for nearly 63 hours, they said.

'High-tech' robot on Russian TV was man in suit
Organizers are quoted as saying: "It's entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics". But bloggers in Russian Federation soon began to raise questions about the robot called "Boris", The Guardian notes.

Smith roasted for butchering Chargers-Chiefs preview
Again, it is understandable given the Chiefs had beaten Rivers and the Chargers nine straight times that complacency had crept in. The defense, needing a quick stop, then forced a three-and-out, giving the offense the ball back at the Chargers' 40-yard line .