ULA Delta IV rocket preparing to launch second GPS III satellite

22 August 2019 (Last Updated August 22nd, 2019 11:10)

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is preparing for the launch of the second Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite for the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

ULA Delta IV rocket preparing to launch second GPS III satellite
United Launch Alliance is preparing for the launch of the second GPS III satellite. Credit: United Launch Alliance, LLC.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is preparing for the launch of the second Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite for the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

Named Magellan, the second GPS III SV02 satellite will be launched on board a Delta IV rocket today at Space Launch Complex-37 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US.

Lockheed Martin delivered the second GPS III satellite to Cape Canaveral in March.

The launch of GPS III SV02 will be ULA’s Delta IV Medium rocket’s 29th and final flight. The company will transition to the Vulcan Centaur next-generation heavy-lift launch vehicle.

ULA government and commercial programmes vice-president Gary Wentz said: “As we prepare to launch the final Delta IV Medium, we look forward to continuing its legacy through the purpose-built Vulcan Centaur.

“We are proud to continue our strong support of the GPS programme with this launch.”

The Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) configuration vehicle features two solid rocket motors produced by Northrop Grumman.

The Lockheed Martin-built GPS III system features advanced satellites and a new signal for civil users. It is intended to support the modernisation of the global navigation network.

GPS III SV02 is expected to add high-power, more accurate and harder-to-jam signals to the GPS constellation.

The GPS III system has up to eight times enhanced anti-jamming capabilities and three times improved accuracy when compared to the GPS II satellite design block.

Earlier this month, ULA launched the US Air Force’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite on board the Atlas V 551 rocket.