Roaring to life: 7th next-generation GPS satellite blasts off from Cape

  • Published
  • By 45th Space Wing
  • Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force supported the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that roared to life carrying the Air Force's seventh Block IIF-7 navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System at 11:23 p.m. EDT Aug. 1 from Space Launch Complex 41.

The rocket flew in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.

Once again, the 45th Space Wing team of military personnel, government civilians, and contractors provided support to the ULA launch of the Air Force Space Command mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, security, safety, and public affairs.

Created by the U.S. Department of Defense to enhance US military warfighting capability, GPS is available for use, free of charge, to anyone with a GPS receiver. U.S. and allied military forces use GPS devices in virtually every system to improve their capabilities and effectiveness while reducing risk to their forces and non-combatants. From finance to farming to tracking packages, use by the civilian community continues to grow rapidly and new commercial applications are continuously being developed.

The GPS IIF system brings next-generation performance to the constellation. The GPS IIF vehicle is critical to U.S. national security and sustaining GPS constellation availability for global civil, commercial and defense applications. Besides sustaining the GPS constellation, IIF features more capability and improved mission performance.

GPS IIF-7 is the seventh in a series of next-generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing satellites positioned in orbit above the Earth's surface. The sixth GPS IIF was launched May 16, 2014, also from here at the Cape.

"Once again, the Sharks of the 45th Space Wing proudly tip their collective hats to United Launch Alliance, Boeing, the Space and Missile Systems Center, GPS Directorate, and all our other mission partners who made this launch successful," said Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, who also served as the Launch Decision Authority.

"We have a remarkably talented and diverse team here on the Space Coast, and I could not be more proud of their efforts today, and every day," she said.