[Satellite TODAY 08-31-10] GPS 2F-SV1, the first of 12 Boeing
-built U.S. Air Force
Block 2F satellites, has entered service, Boeing announced Aug. 30.
The Air Force’s GPS Wing transferred GPS 2F-SV1 satellite control authority to the Air Force 50th Space Wing and the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, which will operate the satellite on its mission.
Air Force officials confirmed that the GPS 2F-SV1’s L5 signals are meeting all requirements after three months of on-orbit testing to validate its operations with the ground control system, other GPS satellites and military and commercial GPS ground receivers. The signal will remain in development status, broadcasting test data until initial operational capability is declared.
“Putting the first next-generation GPS 2F satellite into operation is a significant step forward for the Air Force and the millions of warfighters and civilians who depend on this vital system. Now that 2F-SV1 is operational, military and commercial receivers around the world can begin using the satellite’s improved signals to more accurately determine their position,” Col. Bernard Gruber, commander of the Air Force GPS Wing, said in a statement.
Launched in May by United Launch Alliance
on a Delta 4 rocket, GPS 2F-SV1 is the newest member of the 31-satellite GPS constellation, which aims to provide navigation, positioning and timing information to more than 1 billion military and civilian users around the world. With 60 satellites already launched for the system over the past 30 years, the GPS-2F satellites offer new capabilities to the Air Force, including a jam-resistant military signal and a protected civilian L5 signal to aid commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications.
The Air Force GPS constellation is comprised of 11 Block 2A satellites made by Boeing, along with 12 2R's and 7 2R-modernized spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin
. The new GPS 2F-SV1 spacecraft will take over the Plane B, Slot 2 location of the network constellation, which is divided into six orbital groupings with multiple satellites flying in each, from the GPS 2A-27 satellite, launched in September 1996. In May 2008, Lockheed won a contract worth at least $1.8 billion to build the GPS 3 satellite system, scheduled to go into operation around 2015.
The Air Force has planned to launch the GPS 2F-2 satellite in November or December using an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
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