USAF Launches Delta II/GPS Mission

The U.S. Air Force successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Delta II booster carrying the fifth modernized NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite into space today. The NAVSTAR GPS was launched at 3:04 p.m. (EST) from Space Launch Complex 17A here.

The satellite will join the constellation of on-orbit satellites providing global coverage and increased performance of the GPS services to users worldwide. The modernized series delivers increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal to provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency.

"Today's launch moves us another step closer to modernizing the vital GPS constellation, which provides combat effects our warfighters depend on," said Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th Space Wing commander.

GPS is the world's foremost space-based positioning and navigation system. Endeavors such as mapping, aerial refueling, rendezvous operations, geodetic surveying and search and rescue operations have all benefited from GPS's accuracy.

The GPS constellation provides critical situational awareness and precision weapon guidance for the military and supports a wide range of civil, scientific and commercial functions -- from air traffic control to the Internet -- with precision location and timing information. Every satellite in the constellation was launched from here.

"The Global Positioning System has become an integral part of all of our lives -- for the members supporting the Global War on Terror and their families who support them," said Tech. Sgt. Will McCormick, Delta II Electrical Engineering Assistant, 1st Space Launch Squadron. "It is truly an honor to play even a small part in providing this capability."


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