Monday, September 26, 2005

GPS-2 Satellite Launched

Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | Launch of modernized GPS satellite set for this week:

The first modernized Global Positioning System satellite featuring additional navigation signals to benefit military and civilian users around the world will be launched [the night of September 25] aboard a Boeing Delta 2 rocket.

GPS 2R-M1 will assume the Plane C, Slot 4 position, taking over for the GPS 2A-20 craft launched in May 1993. The aging satellite, although still operational, will be repositioned within the GPS constellation for the remainder of its life. The new slot for the old spacecraft will be determined later.

The military's orbiting GPS constellation began to take shape in 1989. To replace the original satellites as they age, Lockheed Martin built 21 so-called "replenishment" satellites. Dubbed the "2R" series, this current generation of GPS spacecraft has seen 13 flown since 1997, although the first one was lost in a launch explosion. Now, the remaining 8 are being retrofitted with upgrades to provide additional capabilities once deployed in space.

Carrying the re-titled name GPS 2R-M, for Modernized, these upcoming satellites increase the power for existing signals and offer two new military signals as well as a second civilian signal.

The changes fit within the existing GPS 2R satellite design. The Modernized spacecraft, which will weigh 4,545 pounds at launch, only 60 pounds heavier than the earlier model, have a redesigned external antenna panel; and higher-power, more-efficient transmitters highlight the internal changes.

The improvements will provide greater accuracy, added resistance to interference and enhanced performance for all users, according to the Air Force. The advancements for the military will provide warfighters with a more robust jam-resistant signal and enable better targeting of GPS-guided weapons in hostile environments, while the new civilian signal removes ionospheric errors and improves accuracy, officials say.

I believe this is an image of the satellite (certainly not what I had imagined...looks kind of 70's/clunky to me)



Post a Comment

<< Home