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Next-to-last GPS IIF satellite launched into orbit

November 2, 2015  - By
GPS IIF-11 Heads for space on Halloween.

GPS IIF-11 Heads for space on Halloween.

The U.S. Air Force successfully launched its 11th and next-to-last Boeing-built Global Positioning System GPS IIF series satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., on Oct. 31 at 12:13 p.m. EDT (9:13 a.m. PDT).

GPS IIF satellites provide improved signals to support both the warfighter and the growing civilian needs of a global economy. Featuring a new operational third civil signal — L5 — that benefits commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications, the GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy through advanced atomic clocks, a longer design life than previous GPS satellites on orbit.The GPS constellation is healthy, stable and robust with two GPS IIAs, 12 GPS IIRs, seven GPS IIR-Ms and 10 GPS IIF satellites on orbit providing precise global positioning, navigation, and timing services to users around the globe.

Colonel Steven P. Whitney.

Colonel Steven P. Whitney.

“The successful outcome of today’s mission is due to the tremendous commitment of a world class team focused on mission success,” said Col. Steve Whitney, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC) GPS Directorate. “I am pleased to say it’s truly an honor and privilege to be part of a mission that plays such a critical role in our nation’s infrastructure. To the men and women of SMC, the 45th, 50th, 310th Space Wings, Boeing, United Launch Alliance, The Aerospace Corporation, GPS IIF and the Atlas V launch teams, thank you!”

“The GPS IIF satellites play a key role in our modernization effort to provide new space-based capabilities for users around the globe and for decades to come,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, SMC commander and Air Force Program Officer for Space. “The successful outcome of today’s mission is due to the tremendous commitment of a world-class team focused on mission success.”

“As the nation’s premier gateway to space, we are proud to be part of the team providing GPS and its capabilities to the world,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing (Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.) commander, who served as the Launch Decision Authority. “GPS IIF-11 was the 16th launch this year for the wing. Our team diligently prepared for this important mission through a series of rigorous rehearsals, readiness reviews and pre-operational checkouts. Together, with the Space and Missile Systems Center and our industry partners, we make up one team delivering assured space launch and combat capabilities for the nation.”

The integrated team is now preparing GPS IIF-12, the last model of the series, scheduled for launch on Feb. 3, 2016. An airmen-led processing team at Cape Canaveral has processed every launch of the series since GPS IIF-1 launched there in May 2010.

Operated by Air Force Space Command’s 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base, east of Colorado Springs, Colo., the GPS constellation provides precise positioning, navigation and timing services worldwide as a free service provided by the U.S. Air Force, seven days a week, 24-hours a day.