SpaceX GPS III Launches From Cape Canaveral Sunday Morning

Pat Wise
December 27, 2018

The Falcon 9 rocket carried the US Airforce with Global Positioning System satellite which was most powerful as ever built.

After a week of delayed launch attempts, SpaceX finally completed its first US national security space mission. Other attempts on Wednesday, Thursday and yesterday were also aborted due to similar problems and bad weather.

A Space X Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched in the United States this afternoon, after four successive failed attempts to carry out the company's first national security space mission. The GPS III went into medium Earth orbit roughly 1 hour and 56 minutes after liftoff, according to the SpaceX press kit.

"I know this bird is going to fly and when it flies, it's going to make a difference for the security and prosperity of the American people", CBSNews quoted Pence as saying.

The satellite is the first to jump start out of 32 underway by Lockheed under contracts worth a consolidated $12.6 billion for the Air Force GPS III program, as indicated by Lockheed representative Chip Eschenfelder.

SpaceX is already under contract to launch four more GPS III missions.

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The launch was originally scheduled for 2014 but has been hobbled by production delays, the Air Force said.

SpaceX said that the GPS III, "is designed and built to deliver positioning, navigation, and timing information with three times better accuracy, and up to eight times improved antijamming capability". The launch had been rescheduled earlier in the week because of the weather.

Vespucci's nickname honors Italian cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci, after whom North and South America were named.

Lockheed Martin developed GPS III and manufactured GPS III SV01 at its advanced $128-million GPS III Processing Facility near Denver.

"SpaceX has had a phenomenal year no matter how you slice it", Luigi Peluso, an aerospace and defence consultant at AlixPartners, said in a phone interview.

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