[SatNews] ...and it's a launch.
Statement from ULA
Fourth Global Positioning System Satellite Launched for the Air Force in 2014
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., (Oct. 29, 2014) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the eighth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-8 satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 1:21 p.m. EDT today from Space Launch Complex-41. This is ULA’s 12th launch in 2014, and the 89th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
“ULA is honored to work with this world-class U.S. government and contractor mission team, and we are very proud to have delivered the GPS IIF-8 satellite to orbit today on the 50th Atlas V mission,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “Achieving 50 Atlas missions with 100 percent mission success is a tribute to this team’s sustained focus on one mission at a time and dedication to reliably meeting our customer’s launch needs.”
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A engine.
ULA's next launch is the Delta IV Heavy Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) mission of NASA’s Orion spacecraft for Lockheed Martin scheduled for Dec. 4 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
GPS IIF-8 is the eighth in a series of next generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 85 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com.
End of ULA Statement
Today's launch of GPS IIF-8 will join a worldwide timing and navigation system that uses 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth's surface.
The Navstar GPS is a constellation of satellites that provides navigation data to military and civilian users worldwide. The system is operated and controlled by the 50th Space Wing, located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.
The satellites, positioned 11,000 miles above the Earth's surface, continuously transmit digital radio signals pertaining to the exact time (using atomic clocks) and exact location of the satellites.
The ULA team is the launch provider for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS) Directorate by delivering replenishment satellites aboard Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles. GPS IIF-8 is one of the next generation GPS satellites, incorporating various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals, and enhanced performance for users.
The ULA team is focused on attaining Perfect Product Delivery for the GPS IIF-8 mission, which includes a relentless focus on mission suc- cess (the perfect product) and also excellence and continuous improve- ment in meeting all of the needs of our customers (the perfect delivery).
The GPS IIF series have a design life of 12 years. With the proper equipment, users can receive these signals to calculate time, location, and velocity. The signals are so accurate that time can be measured to within a millionth of a second, velocity within a fraction of a mile per hour, and location to within feet. Receivers have been developed for use in aircraft, ships, land vehicles, and to hand carry.
As a result of increased civil and commercial use as well as experience in military operations, the USAF has added the following capabilities and technologies to the GPS IIF series to sustain the space and control segments while improving mission performance:
- 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, meeting the needs of emerging doctrines of navigation warfare.
Mission Description: GPS satellites serve and protect our warfighters by providing navigational assistance for U.S. military operations on land, at sea, and in the air. Civilian users around the world also use and depend on GPS for highly accurate time, location, and velocity information.
GPS IIF-8 is one of the next-generation GPS satellites, incorporating various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals, and enhanced performance for users.
Launch Notes: GPS IIF-8 will be ULA’s fourth GPS launch of 2014 and the 12th of the year. The mission will mark ULA’s 89th mission launched since the company was founded in 2006.