Last of its kind rocket puts Global Positioning System satellite in orbit

James Marshall
August 24, 2019

Delta IV rocket carrying the second Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite, designated Magellan, for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 on August 22 at 9:06 a.m. EDT.

The new GPS system, built by Lockheed Martin, could offer improved accuracy, better anti-jam resiliency and a new signal for civil users, according to ULA.

The Kennedy Space Center says this is last opportunity to see the launch of a Delta IV Medium rocket, since this will be its final flight.

SpaceX launched the first satellite of the GPS III system in December 2018. The rocket is being replaced by ULA's next-generation rocket called Vulcan scheduled for launch in the 2020s.

Gary Wentz, ULA's vice president, stated the final Delta 4 heavy mission is presently slated for the second half of 2023. ULA eventually will be phasing out both the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, relying on the company's new Vulcan rocket to carry cargo (and humans) to space. Apart from lower-than-expected efficiency on its debut mission, the heavy-lift rocket - like the rest of ULA's present fleet - has not suffered a failure. ULA's Delta IV rocket launched NASA's Orion capsule on its first orbital test flight and sent the Parker Solar Probe on its journey to become the fastest robot in history while surfing through the sun's atmosphere.

Following a lovely launch, the Delta IV Medium's solid rocket boosters were jettisoned approximately two minutes into the flight.

GPS III SV02 is created to help the Air Force modernize today's network of GPS satellites with new capabilities and tech.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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