Delta IV GPS III-SV02 Launch, Photo Courtesy United Launch Alliance
Delta IV Successfully Launches Global Positioning System Satellite
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket successfully launched the GPS III-SV02 satellite at 9:06 a.m. EDT today from Launch Pad 37B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch was delayed about five minutes to allow additional time to wait for preparations associated with the rocket's second stage fuel system. The rocket launched today was in the Delta IV Medium 4,2 configuration, featuring a 4-meter fairing and two solid rocket boosters. The 8,170-pound payload was successfully placed in an elliptical transfer orbit about two hours after liftoff. Today's launch marked the final flight of a "single-stick" (flying with one core booster) Delta IV Medium rocket. The rocket will ultimately be replaced by the new Vulcan Centaur. But the Delta program is not yet finished. United Launch Alliance has five more Delta IV Heavy rockets to be launched between now and 2023, following which the storied Delta program, which began in 1960, will officially come to an end.
Delta IV GPS III-SV02 In Flight, Photo Courtesy Lloyd Behrendt/Spaceline
GPS III-SV02 (Global Positioning System III-Space Vehicle 02) is the second in a planned constellation of ten next generation GPS satellites. The GPS III series of satellites is intended to deliver sustained, reliable GPS capabilities to America's warfighters, U.S. allies and civilian users. GPS provides positioning, navigation and timing service to civilian and military users worldwide, with the goal of fulfilling increasing demands for the GPS system. System improvements introduced with the GPS III series include improved anti-jamming, improved accuracy and improved integrity. The satellites operate on six orbital planes at 55-degrees inclination at an altitude of about 12,500 miles. Design life is 15 years with 12 years mean mission duration. Position accuracy is within 0.63 meters. Prime contractor for GPS III-SV02 is Lockheed Martin.
Delta IV GPS III-SV02 SRB Separation, Photo Courtesy Lloyd Behrendt/Spaceline
Atlas V AEHF-5 Launch, Photo Courtesy United Launch Alliance
Atlas V Successfully Launches Military Satellite
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched the AEHF-5 military satellite at 6:13 a.m. EDT today from Launch Pad 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch was delayed about 30 minutes as engineers tackled two technical issues. The rocket launched was the most powerful Atlas V variant, Version 551, featuring a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur second stage. The pre-sunrise liftoff treated spectators to one of the most beautiful launches ever, with the rocket painting a stunning pastel image in the dawn sky.
Atlas V AEHF-5 In Flight Halo Effect, Photo Courtesy Cliff Lethbridge/Spaceline
AEHF-5 is the fifth in a planned constellation of six satellites in the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) System, a joint service geosynchronous satellite system that provides survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priority military ground, sea and air assets. The system enables the National Security Council and Unified Combatant Commanders to control their tactical and strategic forces at all levels of conflict up to and through a nuclear war scenario.
Atlas V AEHF-5 Main Engine Cutoff Plume Effect, Photo Courtesy Lloyd Behrendt/Spaceline
The AEHF system is a follow-up to the Milstar constellation and is intended to augment and improve existing Milstar capabilities. AEHF provides connectivity across the full spectrum of mission areas, including land, air and naval warfare, as well as special operations, strategic nuclear operations, strategic defense, theater missile defense, space operations and intelligence. The primary AEHF stated mission is to provide nearly worldwide secure and survivable satellite communications. The satellite payload consists of onboard signal processing with crossbanded Extremely High Frequency (EHF) and Super High Frequency (SHF) communications capability. The AEHF-5 satellite was built by primary contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.
Atlas V AEHF-5 Streak Shot, Photo Courtesy United Launch Alliance
Falcon 9 AMOS-17 Launch, Photo Courtesy Lloyd Behrendt/Spaceline
Falcon 9 Successfully Launches Israeli Communications Satellite
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the AMOS-17 satellite at 7:23 p.m. EDT today from Launch Pad 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch had been scheduled for August 3 but was postponed to allow SpaceX to conduct a second test firing of the rocket's first stage booster. Today's launch was delayed 30 minutes to allow thunderstorms to clear the launch area. The rocket's first stage booster was being flown for the third time. It had previously supported the Telstar-19 VANTAGE launch in July, 2018 and the Es'hail-2 launch in November, 2018. The booster was not recovered today because the AMOS-17 payload's 14,330-pound weight coupled with its geostationary transfer orbit consumed more fuel, not allowing any spare fuel to support a booster landing.
Falcon 9 AMOS-17 Launch View From Press Site, Photo Courtesy Cliff Lethbridge/Spaceline
The AMOS-17 satellite was successfully deployed about 31 minutes after launch and will ultimately be positioned in a geostationary orbit 22,000 miles above Earth at 17 degrees east longitude. Built by Boeing and designed and owned by Spacecom based in Tel Aviv, Israel, AMOS-17, namesake of the Biblical prophet and standing for Africa Mediterranean Orbital Satellite, utilizes advanced digital payload technology to provide increased connectivity to Africa. The satellite will provide a variety of broadcast, broadband, mobility and data services not only in Africa, but also spans areas from China to Brazil, Europe, the Middle East and India. The satellite has a design life of 20 years.
Falcon 9 AMOS-17 In Flight, Photo Courtesy Lloyd Behrendt/Spaceline