Heavy rocket Falcon 9 on Friday, Kiev time, launched into orbit with the latest satellite of the third-generation global positioning system GPS III in the interests of the US Air Force, the carrier company SpaceX said.
The launch was carried out on November 5 at 18:24 US Eastern time (November 6 at 01:24 Kiev time) from the 40th launch complex at the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral (Florida).
Sputnik in an hour and a half after launch, it will be thrown to an altitude of about 1,000 km above the Earth, and then placed in middle earth orbit – approximately 20,000 km above the planet.
In this case, the first reusable stage of the launch vehicle Falcon 9, 8.5 minutes after launch, should make a vertical landing on the automatic floating platform Of Course I Still Love You, which is deployed in the Atlantic, 635 km from the Cape Canaveral launch site. In addition, the special rescue vessel Ms. Chief will try to “catch” in surface nets or fish out of the water two flaps of the rocket head fairing, which after separation will be parachuted. Re-using the fairing saves SpaceX up to $ 6 million on its rocket launches.
This is the fourth GPS III satellite to be launched into orbit since 2018. The spacecraft weighing 3.8 tons should become the next element in the planned orbital constellation of 32 third-generation global positioning satellites. These devices should gradually replace the outdated satellites that currently provide GPS signals around the world.
GPS III satellites have higher signal strength, allowing you to locate civilian objects three times more accurately than currently used satellites, in which it is from 3 to 10 meters. The accuracy of determining the location of military objects will be even higher.
At the same time, GPS III has significantly improved anti-jamming capabilities in comparison with earlier devices. They will be eight times more protected from suppression by US adversaries.
Currently, more than 4 billion people use the GPS system, which is operated by the US Air Force.
The corporation is engaged in the production of new satellites. Lockheed Martin. The cost of one satellite is $ 577 million. The service life of the new generation satellite is 15 years.
The first 10 GPS III devices in the Space Vehicle (Block IIIA) version will be launched until 2023, the remaining 22 in the Follow On (Block IIIF) will begin to be placed in orbit from 2025 to 2034. The upgraded system will be fully operational no earlier than 2022 due to a delay in upgrading ground-based satellite control systems.
SpaceX won a tender to launch five of the first six GPS III satellites.