A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket successfully launched the Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-5 satellite for the U.S. Air Force on Feb. 20 at 8:59 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-37. This is ULA’s second launch in 2014 and the 79th launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
“Congratulations to the entire mission team on tonight’s successful launch of the GPS IIF-5 satellite,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “GPS provides vital capabilities for the men and women protecting our freedoms around the world and also provides ever-expanding benefits in our daily lives. We are privileged to collaborate with our dedicated government and industry partners seamlessly working together to deliver these capabilities safely to orbit with a focus on mission success, one launch at a time.”
This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) using a single ULA common booster core powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, along with two ATK GEM-60 solid rocket motors. The upper stage was powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine with the satellite encapsulated in a four-meter diameter composite payload fairing.
GPS IIF-5 is the fifth in a series of next-generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.
“This launch marks the 25th successful launch of our Delta IV product line,” said Sponnick. “Delta IV has successfully delivered numerous satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), as well as GPS satellites for the Air Force and weather satellites for NASA.
ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V NROL-67 mission for the NRO planned for March 25, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.