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GPS IIF-8 Launched Successfully from Cape Canaveral

October 29, 2014  - By


The U.S. Air Force launched the eighth GPS IIF satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida today at 1:21 Eastern Time, as scheduled. An Atlas V 401 carried the GPS satellite aloft.

GPS IIF-8 is one of the next-generation GPS satellites, incorporating various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals, and enhanced performance for users. With this eighth satellite now launched, only four more Block IIF satellites remain to be placed into orbit. Three are in storage awaiting launch, and one is in production.

“I’m delighted with the outcome of today’s launch. Thanks to the men and women of SMC, the 45th, 50th and 310th Space Wings; Boeing; ULA; the Aerospace Corporation; and the GPS IIF and Atlas V launch teams ceaseless efforts, commitment, dedication, and focus on mission success, we successfully launched the fourth GPS IIF space vehicle this year,” said Col. Bill Cooley, director of Space and Missile Systems Center’s Global Positioning Systems Directorate. “Today’s launch demonstrates our commitment to users around the globe that GPS is the gold standard for position navigation and timing and will continue to deliver capabilities for the foreseeable future,” he said.

After launch, the mission entered a coast phase that lasts about three hours. Following a short second burn of the RL10 engine, the Centaur second stage will deliver the Boeing-built GPS IIF-8 satellite to semi-synchronous orbit over the southern ocean north of Antarctica. Separation takes place about 3 hours, 24 minutes after liftoff.

GPS IIF-8 is the United Launch Alliance‘s fourth GPS launch this year. The mission marks ULA’s 89th mission launched since the company was founded in 2006.

GPS IIF-8 (SVN-69/PRN-03) will replace SVN-51 in the E plane slot 1. SVN-51 will be re-phased from E1 to an auxiliary node at E7 somewhere around SVN-54 currently on station at E4, according to the Air Force Second Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS).  SVN-38/PRN-08 will be taken out of the operational constellation prior to SVN-69 payload initialization and sent to Launch, Anomaly Resolution and Disposal Operations (LADO).  PRN-08 will be assigned initially to SVN-49 and set to test.

SVN-38 was launched on November 5, 1997, successfully serving nearly 17 years, 9.5 years beyond its designed service life, due to the diligent efforts of the men and women of the U.S. Air Force.  SVN-51 will remain in an auxiliary node once it completes its re-phase journey. The SVN-51 re-phase will take about six months after the initial burn occurs.

View a video of the launch here: