Boeing has transferred the US Air Force’s (USAF) third global positioning system (GPS) block IIF satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US, in preparation for launch from its Satellite Development Center in El Segundo, US.
Delivered by a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft on 9 July 2012, the designated SVN-65 satellite is scheduled to be launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket in early October 2012.
Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems vice president and general manager Craig Cooning said: "As each IIF satellite becomes operational, we continue the seamless transformation of the GPS constellation into an even more accurate, reliable and durable navigation resource for the US military and the global civilian user community."
The satellite will now undergo pre-flight checkout, furling and integration to ready itself for the launch, following which it will join the first and second GPS IIF satellites, which were launched on 27 May 2010 and 16 July 2011 respectively, to continue the sustainment and modernisation of the GPS network.
GPS IIFs are a class of next-generation satellites designed to deliver new and enhanced capabilities, which include a jam-resistant military signal in hostile environments and greater navigational accuracy through improved atomic clock technology.
The satellites are also expected to deliver a protected civilian L5 signal, in an effort to support commercial aviation and safety-of-life applications.
Boeing is under contract with the US Department of Defense (DoD) to manufacture a total of 12 satellites to help improve the military’s defensive capabilities. The company also serves as prime contractor for the USAF’s GPS Operational Control Segment programme, which controls the satellites in the orbit.
Image: An artist’s impression of Boeing’s GPS IF satellite, which provides jam-resistant military signal in hostile environments. Photo: courtesy of USAF.