On October 29, the United Launch Alliance will be sending an Atlas V 401 rocket carrying the GPS IIF-8 satellite into space, which will set new unit into semi-synchronous circular orbit around Earth. The mission, conducted for the U.S. Air Force, will launch from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
This will mark the fourth GPS satellite to be launched in 2014 as the Air Force works to replace the aging GPS constellation and help maintain steady GPS service to military and civilian users across the country. The new units are designed to have a “shelf life” of 12 years.
Features of the latest generation of GPS satellites include the following:
– Two-times greater predicted signal accuracy than heritage satellites
– New L5 signals for more robust civil and commercial aviation
– An on-orbit, reprogrammable processor, receiving software uploads for improved system operation
– Military signal “M-code” and variable power for better resistance to jamming hostile environments
Anyone interested in viewing the launch via webcast can do so through the ULA website. A webcast will begin at 1:01 pm Eastern Daylight Time.
ULA is a 50-50 joint venture between Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company formed in 2006 to provide reliable, cost-efficient access to space for U.S. government missions. ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.