GPS Satellite Launch Set for Thursday

February 18, 2014  - By

GPS IIFThe United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket family will launch a new GPS IIF satellite from Cape Canaveral Thursday night.

Liftoff is scheduled for Thursday at 8:40 p.m. EST, at the start of a 19-minute launch opportunity, according to the United Launch Alliance. The window is timed to deliver the GPS IIF-5 satellite directly into Plane A of the navigation network 11,000 miles above Earth.

GPS IIF-5 will replace the aging spacecraft known as GPS IIA-28 in Plane A, Slot 3 of the constellation. The GPS IIA-28 satellite was launched aboard Delta 249 on November 5, 1997, as the final member of the Block IIA series. It will go into a reserve role in the network for the remainder of its useful life.

Spaceflight Now will host a live stream of the launch.

This is the first of three GPS launches planned through July to replace aging craft in the constellation. GPS IIF-5 incrementally upgrades the constellation with improved accuracy, enhanced internal atomic clocks, better anti-jam resistance, a civil signal for commercial aviation, and a longer design life, all features of the Boeing-build Block IIF series. This will be the fifth of 12 Block IIF spacecraft being built to form the backbone of the GPS fleet for the next 15 years.

The Delta’s flight will last three hours and 33 minutes from liftoff until spacecraft separation, firing its cryogenic upper stage in three different burns to reach an initial parking orbit and taking a two-step transfer route to reach the circular GPS orbit tilted 55 degrees to the equator.

1 Comment on "GPS Satellite Launch Set for Thursday"

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  1. Achim says:

    as you can see on
    the GPS Satellite SVN 36 on slot C 6 will be replaced. On February 21st it will be taken out of the GPS constellation.

    Do you know what will happen to this old satellite? Will it remain in an reserve position to be reactivated in case of a technical problem with another satellite or will the just be “space-scrap” until it glows in the atmosphere when coming down from orbit one day?

    Greetings from Germany!