ULA Atlas V Delivers Final GPS IIF Navigation Satellite to Orbit for USAF – Critical to Military/Civilian Users

United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the GPS IIF-12 mission lifted off at 8:38 a.m. EST on Feb. 5, 2016 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.  Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION – Despite howling winds and unseasonably frigid temperatures in the ‘sunshine state’, United Launch Alliance’s workhorse Atlas V rocket successfully blasted off this morning, Friday, Feb 5, and delivered the final GPS satellite in the IIF series to orbit for the US Air Force.The ULA Atlas V carried the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-12 navigation satellite to orbit – thus completing the constellation of next generation GPS IIF satellites that are critical to both military and civilian users on a 24/7 basis. These GPS IIF satellites incorporate numerous improvements over the initial series of GPS satellites to provide greater accuracy, increased signals and enhanced performance for users.“The GPS IIF series of satellites provides positional accuracy to with 1.5 meters (4 feet),” Lt. Col. Tom Ste. Marie told Universe Today during an interview at the media’s launch viewing site.The commercial Atlas V rocket thundered aloft from the seaside Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 8:38 a.m. EST. Today’s launch was the first launch of 2016 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It also marks ULA’s first mission of 2016 and the 60th operational GPS mission to launch on a ULA or heritage rocket. It is also the 104th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.The first GPS IIF satellite was launched in May 2010.The Global Positioning System GPS IIF-12 satellite was encapsulated inside the 4 meter diameter nosecone atop the twenty story tall Atlas V rocket.Today’s picture perfect launch into clear blue skies took place just hours after widespread, drenching showers inundated the Florida space coast and threatened to scrub the mission.“Congratulations to the ULA, Boeing and Air Force teams on the successful launch of GPS IIF-12,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president, Custom —> Read More