Skip to comments.Air Force Launches Long-awaited First GPS 2F Satellite
Posted on 05/30/2010 10:02:04 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The U.S. Air Force on May 27 successfully launched the first of a new generation of GPS satellites aboard a Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., the service announced May 28.
The GPS 2F-1 satellite was placed into a roughly 17,600-kilometer orbit and joins an operational constellation of 30 previous-generation GPS satellites, the Air Force press release said.
The GPS 2F satellites are more powerful than previous GPS satellites, generating more robust, jam-resistant signals, according to prime contractor Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of Seal Beach, Calif. The satellites will also provide a third civil signal known as L5 that will be used for commercial aviation and search and rescue operations. The satellites have 12-year design lives, longer than earlier GPS craft were intended to operate.
The GPS 2F satellites are the first generation to rely on the U.S. Air Forces Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle rockets. Previous GPS satellites were launched on smaller, Delta 2 rockets, infrastructure for which is no longer supported by the Air Force.
Boeing is under contract to deliver 12 GPS 2F satellites, and the program is more than three years behind schedule. A May 2009 report from a government watchdog agency said the program has incurred $870 million in cost growth since its inception.
Boeing in 2008 lost out to Lockheed Martin Space Systems in the competition to build the next-generation GPS 3 satellites. The GPS 3 constellation is expected to begin launching in 2014.
According to Boeing Spokeswoman Diana Ball, "the program cost growth was due in part to changes in scope requested by the government."
(Excerpt) Read more at spacenews.com ...