Science and Technology News

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reservists track Atlas rocket carrying GPS satellite

5/23/2013 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla.  -- When the Air Force successfully launched an Atlas rocket carrying a GPS satellite May 15, reservists in the 19th Space Operations Squadron provided all of the operational manpower from the launch through the first 96 hours on orbit.

"The Air Force Reserve has supported 28 of 36 GPS launches," said Lt. Col. Mark Strub, 19th SOPS commander at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. "This is the ninth launch led by the 19th SOPS and the 12th for which squadron personnel have been an integral part of the launch team."

The GPS IIF-4 spacecraft ascended into a constellation of satellites circling 11,000 nautical miles above the earth. It provides precision navigation and timing to U.S. military forces and civilian users worldwide.

According to Space Command officials, the new capabilities of the IIF satellites include:

- 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);

- 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.

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