SpaceX Launches Air Force’s Best GPS Yet, Ends Banner Year

SpaceX successfully launches satellite for 1st national security mission

SpaceX successfully launches satellite for 1st national security mission

The launch had been rescheduled earlier in the week because of the weather.

The launch sent the Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV) satellite into space to join the Air Force's constellation of 31 operational GPS satellites. Very unlike SpaceX, the company did not attempt to recover the first stage booster after separation due to "mission requirements". It is three times more accurate than the previous system and up to eight times stronger in its anti-jamming capability.

USA private spaceflight company SpaceX launched Falcon 9 rocket carrying 64 small satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the state of California on Monday.

SpaceX has launched payloads for the USA military before, but Vespucci is the company's first official "National Security Space" mission - a designation reserved for liftoffs deemed critical to national defense.

These scheduled launches got canceled either due to bad weather or technical issues.

The rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 4 at the air force base at 10:34 a.m. PST (1834 GMT).

For its Florida launches, SpaceX relies on assistance from the US Air Force's 45th Space Wing, which oversees flights out of Cape Canaveral.

The next year, SpaceX won an $US83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a lifespan of 15 years. It's the first in a series and nicknamed Vespucci after the 15th-century Italian explorer who calculated Earth's circumference to within 50 miles (80 kilometres). It dropped the lawsuit in 2015 after the Air Force agreed to open up competition. The very next year Musk's company secured an $83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite.

The company stated that this very launch was the 21st as well as the final year of the launch.

According to Eschenfelder, the next GPS III satellite is set to launch in mid-2019 and additional satellites will be tested at Lockheed's processing facility in Colorado.

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