New satellite to boost GPS capabilities, benefit agriculture

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A U.S. Air Force Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite built by Boeing was successfully launched May 15. The fourth GPS IIF satellite, Space Vehicle Number (SVN) 66, was carried aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V Launch Vehicle at 5:38 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The new capabilities of the IIF satellites will provide greater navigational accuracy through improvements in atomic clock technology; a more robust signal for commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications, known as the new third civil signal (L5); and a 12-year design life providing long-term service.

These upgrades improved anti-jam capabilities for the warfighter and improved security for military and civil users around the world.

"I'm extremely pleased with today's launch and delighted to be part of this mission that enhances our nation's critical GPS capability.

"Thanks to the superb efforts of the of the 45th and 50th Space Wings, United Launch Alliance, our industry partners, the Atlas V and GPS IIF launch teams, the GPS IIF-4 mission was successfully carried out," said Col.Bernie Gruber, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center's Global Positioning Systems Directorate.

"The GPS constellation remains healthy and continues to meet and exceed the performance standards to which the satellites were built.

"Our goal is to deliver sustained, reliable GPS capabilities to America's warfighters, our allies and civil users around the world, and this is done by maintaining GPS performance, fielding new capabilities and developing more robust modernized capabilities for the future," said Gruber.

From the launch of its first satellite, GPS has transformed navigation and precise timing for all users. GPS has grown into a global utility whose multi-use services are integral to U.S. national security, economic growth, transportation safety, homeland security and are an essential element of the worldwide economic infrastructure.

GPS is the pre-eminent military space-based positioning, navigation and timing system in the world and is an integrated part of U.S. and coalition military training and operations.

While GPS is a military-procured and operated satellite constellation, it is recognized as a global utility serving billions of users around the globe.

The Air Force continues to meet and exceed its operational requirements with GPS and maintain its commitment to sustain the constellation and modernize GPS to develop and field new capabilities for the military and civil users worldwide.


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