by 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
2/5/2016 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The
45th Space Wing supported the U.S. Air Force's twelfth launch of a
Boeing-built Global Positioning System IIF satellite aboard a United
Launch Alliance Atlas V from Space Launch Complex 41 here Feb. 5 at 8:38
"Today's launch marks a momentous milestone in the history of the Global
Positioning System. It is the twelfth and last GPS IIF satellite and
closes out nearly 27 years of launches for the GPS Block II family of
satellites," said Col. Shawn Fairhurst, 45th SW vice commander, who
served as the Launch Decision Authority. "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 and look forward to the future as we begin
preparation for the next generation of GPS III satellites. 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."
An Airmen-led processing team at CCAFS has processed every satellite of the series since GPS IIF-1 launched here in May 2010.
"This is a significant milestone for GPS, the 50th GPS satellite to be
delivered on-orbit," said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Space and Missile
Systems Center commander and Air Force Program Officer for Space. "The
GPS IIF satellite performance has been exceptional and is expected to be
operational for years to come."
This mission proves the Air Force's dedication to deliver pre-eminent
space-based positioning, navigation and timing service to users around
the globe. GPS is the Department of Defense's largest satellite
constellation with 31-operational satellites on orbit. GPS IIF is
critical to U.S. national security and to sustainment of the GPS
constellation for civil, commercial and military users. Originally
designed for the military user, GPS has become a global utility depended
upon by more than two billion users worldwide. Even 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.