Newest GPS Block IIF Satellite Enters Service

The Air Force’s newest Global Positioning System satellite, SVN-63, has entered operational service, announced prime contractor Boeing Monday. This satellite—the second of 12 planned Boeing-built GPS Block IIF spacecraft to reach orbit—”has been set healthy and is ready to begin providing a strong, clear, and secure signal,” said Col. Bernard Gruber, GPS directorate boss at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., in the company’s release. SVN-63 reached orbit on July 16. Following 30 days of on-orbit checkout, the GPS directorate passed command and control of the satellite to the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever AFB, Colo., on Aug. 19. Block IIF satellites are designed to provide improved accuracy and jam resistance; they also feature a new third civil navigation signal. The GPS constellation, with 31 active satellites, is more robust and capable than ever before, according to USAF officials. (See also Los Angeles release.)