Saturday, July 16, 2011

First signals from GPS IIF-2

First signals from GPS IIF-2: "

blog post photo

United Launch Alliance

Boeing received the first on-orbit signals at 6:14 a.m. EDT from the second of 12 Global Positioning System satellites it is building for the U.S. Air Force following a 2:41 a.m. launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla.

The signals mean that GPS IIF-2 is functioning normally and is ready to begin on-orbit maneuvers and operational testing under the direction of the Air Force GAPS Directorate.

Boeing expects to officially turn over operation of the spacecraft, which has been renamed SVN-63, to the Air Force 50th Space Wing and the 2nd Space Operations Squadron this fall.

The spacecraft was lifted into orbit by a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium+ rocket flying for the eighth time in a 4-2 configuration. Its single Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68 first stage engine was supplemented by two Alliant Techsystems strap-on solid rocket motors. The four-meter upper stage used a PWR RL10B-2 engine.

The first of the GPS IIF series was launched May 27, 2010. Each of the 12 are expected to have 12-year life spans.

The GPS IIF series continues the tradition of combined civil and military global positioning system satellite coverage but with greater navigational accuracy through improved atomic clock technology, a new civilian L-5 signal to aid commercial aviation and search and rescue operations, better resistance to jamming, and an on-orbit reprogrammable processor.


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