Hawthorne-based SpaceX successfully launched another rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida Tuesday, this time carrying a U.S. Space Force global positioning satellite into orbit.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the GPS III SV03 satellite took off at about 1:10 p.m. California time.
The satellite launch was originally scheduled for April 29, but it was delayed for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Space Force officials said the delay resulted in only minimal cost increases.
“The NSSL (National Security Space Launch) program’s number one priority is to achieve mission success on each and every National Security Space launch,” Col. Robert Bongiovi, launch enterprise director, said in a statement. “We also strive to procure affordable launch services that maintain assured access to space for the nation. Our goal with GPS III SV03 was to maintain our mission assurance record, while exploring unique cost-saving opportunities like recovering a booster to deliver the capabilities our warfighters demand.”
As has become customary with SpaceX launches, the company recovered the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket by landing it on a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean, preserving it for use in future missions.
Space Force officials said the GPS III satellite signals are more “accurate and powerful” than previous iterations, and also have improved anti-jamming capabilities.
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