SpaceX Launches Air Force’s GPS III Satellite
After prior technical difficulties, SpaceX launched the Lockheed Martin-built GPS III satellite for the U.S. Air Force. The satellite was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 8:51 a.m. local time on Dec. 23 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
GPS III Space Vehicle 01 (GPS III SV01) is receiving and responding to commands from Lockheed Martin’s Launch and Checkout Center at the company’s Denver facility. Air Force and company engineers declared satellite control signal acquisition and rocket booster separation about 119 minutes after GPS III SV01’s launch.
GPS III SV01 is the first of a new, next generation Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite aiming to modernize the GPS constellation. According to the release, GPS III has three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. GPS III’s new L1C civil signal will also make it the first GPS satellite broadcasting a compatible signal with other international global navigation satellite systems, like Europe’s Galileo.