After about one week of delay, the Air Force and its industry partners successfully launched the first Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite into space late Thursday aboard a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. The launch went off after several attempts since May 20 had to be scrubbed just prior to launch due to various anomalies. The Boeing-built spacecraft features a more robust and higher power military signal—first included on GPS Block IIR-M satellites—and a new L5 civil signal for aviation safety of flight. This satellite is expected to be operational on orbit within about 90 days, joining about 30 other GPS satellites in the constellation. It is the first of 12 Block IIF satellites that Boeing is under contract to build. The mission marked the first time that a Delta IV carried a GPS satellite into space. (Patrick release) (See also Fox News report and United Launch Alliance release.)
While U.S. military leaders worry about China as a near-peer threat, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has doubts has serious doubts about the PLA’s political reliability, leadership, and ability to mobilize, fight, and win wars, according to a new report.