Press Release

SMC and its mission partners poised to launch fifth GPS III satellite

By SpaceRef Editor
June 17, 2021
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The U.S. Space Force’s newest Global Positioning System (GPS) III Space Vehicle 05 rolled out to Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-40 overnight, June 16.
The Lockheed Martin-built GPS III SV05 is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket – the fourth National Security Space Launch (NSSL) mission on a Falcon 9 rocket, the third NSSL mission where a Launch Service Provider recovered flight hardware for future reuse, and the first ever U.S. Space Force (USSF) mission to reuse a previously-flown booster.
“We are building on the successful booster recoveries of GPS III-3 and GPS III-4 last year and making a historic step with the GPS III-5 mission using a previously flown vehicle,” said Col. Robert Bongiovi, Launch Enterprise director. “The affordability and flexibility provided with SpaceX’s reused launch vehicles open additional opportunities for future NSSL missions and provide our nation’s warfighters with the advanced capabilities they need.”
“The GPS III program office in partnership with our contract teammates continue to push the envelope on the capabilities they deliver to users, both civil and military around the globe,” said  Mr. Cordell DeLaPena, Jr., U.S. Space Force program executive office for Space Production. “Our latest GPS III satellites’ nearly 70-percent digital payload provides the Space Force with greater operational flexibility, as well as cutting edge capabilities while continuing to support legacy users. Fueled off the success of our latest GPS III SV04 launch, I look forward to the successful launch of SV05 just 7 months later.”
GPS III SV05 will be launched to augment the current GPS constellation composed of 31 operational spacecraft. GPS satellites operate in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) at an altitude of approximately 20,200 km (12,550 miles) in six orbital planes. Each satellite circles the earth twice per day. GPS is the premier space-based provider of positioning, navigation and timing services for more than four billion users worldwide. This latest generation of GPS satellite boasts a 15-year design life — 25 percent longer than the previous generation of GPS satellites on orbit.
GPS III brings new capabilities to users such as the new L1C civilian signal, which opens the window for future interoperability with international satellite navigation systems.
“Our GPS program team overcame numerous challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to safely and successfully launch GPS III SV04. Their resilience and ingenuity validated a new concept of operations which has paved the way for the launch of GPS III SV05 just seven months later” said Col. Edward Byrne, MEO Space Systems Division chief. “SV05 will continue to modernize our GPS constellation by increasing our capabilities with advanced features for both our civil and military users across the world.”
The 15-minute launch window opens at 12:09 p.m. EDT (9:09 a.m. Pacific). A live feed will begin 20 minutes before launch and conclude approximately after spacecraft separation. A simulcast of the broadcast can be viewed at The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the U.S. Space Force’s center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the development of advanced space and launch capability and systems, global positioning systems, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.

SpaceRef staff editor.