Precision Signal

Today’s Global Positioning System satellite constellation, with 30 spacecraft currently on orbit, is “healthy, stable, and robust” and providing military and civil users worldwide with “the best GPS performance ever,” Col. Dave Madden, GPS Wing commander at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., said Wednesday during a media teleconference. Soon the constellation will grow in size with the impending launch of the first Boeing-built GPS Block IIF satellite on May 20-21. It will be the first GPS launch mission since August 2009, when the final Block IIR-M was placed in orbit. Boeing is under contract to build 12 Block IIF spacecraft. Madden said the second Block IIF satellite is slated for launch around year’s end. He anticipates that two to three IIFs will be launched annually until all are on orbit. They have a projected operational life of about 15 years, he said. (For more, read New on the Block.)