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Watch SpaceX launch an updated GPS satellite for the US Space Force

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Watch SpaceX launch an up to date GPS satellite tv for pc for the US House Drive

Late Friday evening, SpaceX is slated to launch a brand new upgraded GPS satellite tv for pc for the US House Drive from Cape Canaveral, Florida — the newest spacecraft supposed to assist modernize the present GPS fleet. This would be the fourth GPS satellite tv for pc of its variety to launch within the final three years, and the third one to be launched by SpaceX.

The satellite tv for pc going up on this flight is GPS III SV04, which can grow to be one of many 31 major GPS satellites in orbit. This car is a part of a brand new block of GPS III spacecraft supposed to slowly change the present growing older GPS autos. Constructed by Lockheed Martin, these GPS III satellites are purported to be 3 times extra correct than their predecessors and have extra superior “anti-jamming” capabilities to forestall cyberattacks, due to a brand new M-Code sign embedded within the satellite tv for pc.

The GPS III satellites are additionally meant to be extra user-friendly for civilians. The autos sport a brand new “civil sign” that permits them to extra simply talk with different satellite tv for pc navigation techniques in area, notably Europe’s Galileo constellation of greater than two dozen spacecraft. That means, civilians and business customers seeking to faucet into the system could have extra potential spacecraft overhead at any given time.

It’s been a sluggish course of launching these GPS III replacements, marked by technological and testing delays, in addition to delays associated to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, Lockheed Martin says the fifth satellite tv for pc is able to go and awaiting its launch date. Within the meantime, 5 extra GPS III satellites are in manufacturing, in response to the corporate, and three of them are totally constructed and present process exams. As soon as GPS III SV04 launches, as much as 12 % of the present GPS constellation will encompass the brand new satellites.

Takeoff of GPS III SV04 is scheduled for 9:43PM ET, on prime of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Drive Station in Florida. SpaceX is utilizing a completely new Falcon 9 rocket for the job, although simply final week, the House Drive’s House and Missile Methods Heart introduced it would permit SpaceX to launch two future GPS III satellites on the corporate’s used Falcon 9 rockets. For this launch, SpaceX nonetheless plans to get well the Falcon 9 following the flight and can try and land the rocket on one of many firm’s floating drone ships within the Atlantic Ocean.

For now, climate is wanting okay for launch with a 70 % likelihood of favorable circumstances. Nevertheless, rockets on the East Coast have struggled to launch this week, with three separate autos experiencing delays as a consequence of technological points and climate issues.

Tune in tonight to see if SpaceX can break the streak, and get one rocket off the bottom this week. Dwell protection is scheduled to start quarter-hour earlier than takeoff.

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