LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) – The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has decided to reschedule the launch of GPS III SV03 (GPS III-3) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to minimize the potential of COVID-19 exposure to the launch crew and early-orbit operators.
The current GPS constellation is healthy, allowing for a strategic pause to ensure the health and safety of our force without operational impact.
Originally scheduled for late April 2020, the launch is now projected for no-earlier than June 30, pending a re-evaluation in May.
“We do not make this decision lightly, however, given our GPS constellation remains strong, we have the opportunity to make a deliberate decision to maintain our mission assurance posture, without introducing additional health risk to personnel or mission risk to the launch,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, SMC commander and program executive officer for space.
GPS III-3 brings the third modernized GPS III satellite to the operational GPS mission, and the team remains ready to execute. GPS III will bring three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capability than its predecessor.
The current constellation is healthy with 31 satellites ...