Launches, Satellites

Liftoff! Delta IV Launches Next Generation GPS Satellite

4 Oct , 2012 by

A Delta IV rocket launched from Florida today, sending a next-generation Global Positioning System satellite into orbit. The rocket lifted off at 12:10 UTC with the GPS IIF-3 satellite that will be part of the GPS system that is used by both civilians and the military. The new satellite will replace a 19-year-old navigation satellite in the global system that includes 31 operational satellites on-orbit which broadcast position, navigation and timing information to people around the world.

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV stands ready for launch at Space Launch complex 37 with the GPS IIF-3 satellite. Credit: ULA

The satellite, built by Boeing, is the third of 12 planned launches to provide improved GPS signals, featuring improved anti-jam technology, more precise atomic clocks, an upgraded civilian channel for commercial aviation and on-board processors that can be reprogrammed in flight, according to CBS News.

The new satellite should be operational by November.

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Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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Sky Goodman
Sky Goodman
October 4, 2012 8:56 PM

does this gps have the new atomic clock accuracy or is that science still too new for deployment?

The Latinist
The Latinist
October 5, 2012 2:47 PM

It’s about time. Long overdue, in fact. This is being sold as merely an upgrade, but it’s really a life-saving measure for a GPS system which was (and still is) in great danger of losing satellites essential to aviation.