GPS Satellite Launch

The Air Force on Monday successfully placed the last of its modernized Global Positioning System IIR satellites into orbit. A United Launch Alliance Delta II Rocket fired from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., carried this satellite, designated GPS IIR-21(M), into space. It joined the constellation of 30 other GPS spacecraft, including seven other Block IIR-M satellites, that provide precision navigation, location, and timing functions to the US military and worldwide civil users. “I am exceedingly pleased with today’s launch and elated to be a part of a mission that plays a critical component of our nation’s infrastructure,” said Col. Dave Madden, commander of the GPS Wing at Los Angeles AFB, Calif. The Lockheed Martin-built satellite features improved accuracy, enhanced encryption, anti-jamming capabilities, and a second civil signal. It is expected to be declared ready for operations next month. (Los Angeles release)