Release Number: 020513
5/16/2013 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The
U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing successfully launched the first Atlas
rocket carrying a GPS satellite since 1985 at 5:38 p.m. May 15 from
Space Complex 41.
The United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V rocket carried into orbit the
64th GPS satellite, an enhancement to the orbiting constellation.
Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander, 45th Space Wing, praised the
combined team of military, government civilians and contractors on the
"I am proud of the hard work of the 45th and 50th Space Wings, the Space
and Missile Systems Center, United Launch Alliance, Boeing, our
industry partners and the Atlas V and GPS IIF launch teams," said Brig.
Gen. Cotton. "Once again, our entire team worked hand-in-hand to make
this another successful launch for the Air Force and our nation."
The GPS IIF-4 spacecraft ascended into a constellation of satellites
circling 11,000 nautical miles above Earth. It provides precision
navigation and timing to U.S. military forces and civilian users
The new capabilities of the IIF satellites will provide greater
navigational accuracy through improvements in atomic clock technology; a
more robust signal for commercial aviation and safety-of-life
applications, known as the new third civil signal (L5); and a 12-year
design life providing long-term service. These upgrades improve anti-jam
capabilities for the warfighter and improve security for military and
civil users around the world.
"The Air Force is working hard to advance the GPS network for improved
accuracy across the board for things like commercial aviation signals,
anti-jammers and a longer shelf life as we evolve the system over time,"
said Lt. Col. Paul Konyha, commander, 5th Launch Support Squadron.