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Pad 17A scores 158th launch

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION -- Friday's successful launch of a Delta II booster from Cape Canaveral carried a NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite into orbit. It was the 158th launch from Space Launch Complex 17A.

The satellite is the third of the modernized GPS satellites that incorporates various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased resistance to interference and enhanced performance for users.

It will become part of a system nominally consisting of a 24-satellite constellation that provides continuous and precise navigation and timing information to military and civilian users worldwide.

"This success is another example of how the 45th Space Wing is at the leading edge of providing combat effects to our warfighters," said Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander.

Capt. Greg Vice, of the 1st Space Launch Squadron, was the Air Force launch crew commander for the mission. He said, "Our launch team is tremendous. This was our third Delta II launch within seven weeks. Launching a system such as GPS is one of the many ways space operators contribute to the Global War on Terror."

GPS is the world's premier space-based positioning and navigation system.

Endeavors such as mapping, aerial refueling, rendezvous operations, geodetic surveying and search and rescue operations have all benefited from GPS's accuracy.