The GPS III 5 satellite, which will be launched by SpaceX, is part of an upgraded satellite constellation that allows for a more secure signal for communication.
SpaceX plans to launch a new GPS satellite for the US Space Force on Thursday, June 17 in a 15-minute lift-off window. The launch will take place from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 12:09 p.m. EDT (09:39 p.m. IST). This would be the first time a US military satellite flew on a SpaceX rocket that had previously been utilized.
The GPS 3 Space Vehicle 5 — the 5th satellite in the GPS 3 constellation that transmits location, navigation, and timing signals to military and commercial users — was launched by the Falcon 9 rocket.
The Space Force has officially entered the era of reusable rockets with this mission. GPS 3 SV-5 was the first National Security Space Launch mission in which SpaceX employed a Falcon 9 first stage that had previously flown. After the launch of GPS 3 SV-4 on Nov. 5, the booster, designated B1062, was recovered.
About two minutes and 40 seconds after liftoff, the first stage of the rocket separated from the second stage. The Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” drone ship off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean around eight minutes and 35 seconds after liftoff.
The Falcon 9 first stage was recovered for the third time in a National Security Space Launch mission, and it was SpaceX’s 88th successful recovery of a first stage.
The GPS 3 SV-5 satellite will join a constellation of 31 satellites that operate at a height of 12,550 miles in six orbital planes in medium Earth orbit. Every day, each satellite orbits the Earth twice.
SpaceX launched a military GPS 3 satellite for the fourth time on June 17 as part of the National Security Space Launch program. The first took place on December 23, 2018, the second on June 30, 2020, and the third on November 5, 2020.
Next year, the firm has a contract to deploy GPS 3 SV-6.
SpaceX will continue to use reusable boosters on national security missions, according to Col. Robert Bongiovi, head of the Space Force Launch Enterprise.
“We are building on the successful booster recoveries of GPS 3 SV-3 and GPS 2 SV-4 last year and making a historic step with the GPS 3 SV-5 mission using a previously flown vehicle,” he said. “The affordability and flexibility provided with SpaceX’s reused launch vehicles open additional opportunities for future NSSL missions.”