SpaceX is set to cap an impressive 21 launch year campaign with the company’s long-sought first U.S. National Security mission. Launch of the GPS III-SV01 spacecraft will mark SpaceX’s first competitively awarded EELV, Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, contract with the U.S. Air Force and is the first of the new generation of GPS III satellites to launch.
The launch window extends on Tuesday, 18 December from 09:11 – 09:35 EST (1411 – 1435 UTC). The mission will utilize a brand new Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket flying in its expendable configuration, as the full performance of the Falcon 9 is necessary to loft the GPS III satellite into its Medium Earth Orbit.
GPS III contract award(s):
The award for the first GPS III satellite contract traces its roots back to the day when the current Global Positioning System (GPS) reached full operational capability on 17 July 1995.
While the original GPS goals were met on that day, significant advances in technology as well as user demands on the newly-completed system resulted in an effort to modernize the GPS.
This initiative gained full support from the White House and President Bill Clinton’s Administration in 1998, which initiated the GPS ...