Science and Technology News

Sunday, November 1, 2015

45th Space Wing supports Air Force GPS IIF-11 launch aboard an Atlas V

by 45th Space Wing Public Affairs

10/31/2015 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla.  -- The 45th Space Wing supported the U.S. Air Force's eleventh launch of Boeing-built Global Positioning System IIF satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V from Space Launch Complex 41, here Oct. 31 at 12:13 p.m. EDT.

"As the nation's premier gateway to space, we are proud to be part of the team providing GPS and its capabilities to the world," said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th SW commander, who served as the Launch Decision Authority. "GPS IIF-11 was the 16th launch this year for the wing. Our team diligently prepared for this important mission through a series of rigorous rehearsals, readiness reviews and pre-operational checkouts.  Together, with the Space and Missile Systems Center and our industry partners, we make up one team delivering assured space launch and combat capabilities for the nation."

The integrated team is currently preparing GPS IIF-12, the last model of the series, for launch in early 2016. An Airmen-led processing team at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., has processed every launch of the series since GPS IIF-1 launched here in May 2010.

"The GPS IIF satellites play a key role in our modernization effort to provide new space-based capabilities for users around the globe and for decades to come," said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force Program Officer for Space.  "The successful outcome of today's mission is due to the tremendous commitment of a world class team focused on mission success."

According to SMC, the GPS constellation is healthy, stable and robust with two GPS IIAs, 12 GPS IIRs, seven GPS IIR-Ms, and 10 GPS IIF satellites on orbit providing precise global positioning, navigation, and timing services to users around the globe.

American taxpayers fund the GPS enterprise operated by the U.S. Air Force. GPS, originally designed for the military user, has become a global utility depended upon by more than two billion GPS users worldwide.

Even the 45th SW personnel rely on GPS satellites currently on orbit to track most missions they launch from the Eastern Range at CCAFS.

Eastern Range instrumentation provides radar tracking, telemetry, communications, command/control sites, camera and optical sites, and other support capabilities such as meteorology.  Instrumentation is necessary to safely and successfully conduct civil, commercial, and national security spacelift operations and ballistic missile tests and evaluation.  Eastern Range assets are based on dependable designs and technology and are arrayed in a highly efficient architecture designed to ensure safety of the launch environment and the public at large.

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