A Lockheed Martin GPS Block IIR-16 satellite has launched on a Boeing Delta II launch vehicle Friday. Lift-off was at 19:13 GMT (2:13 pm EST).
Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin spoke of their pride, following the successful mission conclusion of the launch, which was confirmed by spacecraft seperation 68 minutes later after lift-off from Cape Canaveral.
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‘We are extremely proud of our ability to deliver mission success for our customer,’ said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Navigation Systems.
‘The modernized IIR-M program is providing new capabilities for navigation users around the globe and we look forward to executing a timely and efficient on-orbit checkout of this world-class, high-performance spacecraft.’
‘Our Delta team understands the importance GPS satellites play in protecting our military and helping them defend our country,’ said Dan Collins, vice president and general manager, Boeing Launch Systems.
‘The Delta II vehicle has a strong record of performance, and I am proud of the team’s commitment to mission success and our role in sustaining the GPS constellation.’
Known as GPS IIR-M, the modernized spacecraft are the most technologically advanced GPS satellites ever developed and are designed to provide significantly improved navigation performance for
Lockheed Martin are under contract to build a total of eight modernized IIR spacecraft for the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and
The GPS constellation is designed and operated as a 24-satellite system, consisting of six planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane. The GPS satellites are placed into nearly 11,000-mile circular orbits. While circling the Earth, the systems transmit signals on three different L-band frequencies. Their design life is 10 years.
Carrying the satellite in orbit will be the Delta II – 7925-9.5 version – launch vehicle, aiming to extend a near faultless reliability record, standing at 98.3 percent over 118 launches.
The Delta II 7925-9.5 configuration vehicle features a Boeing first stage booster powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine and nine Alliant Techsystems (ATK) solid rocket boosters.
An Aerojet AJ10-118K engine powered the storable propellant restartable second stage. A Thiokol Star-48B solid rocket motor propelled the third stage prior to spacecraft deployment. The rocket also flew with a nine-and-a-half-foot diameter Boeing payload fairing.
A redundant inertial flight control assembly built by L3 Communications Space & Navigation provided guidance and control for the rocket, enabling a precise deployment of the satellite.
The IIR-16 mission comes six weeks after the successful launch of another vehicle in the Delta family, the Delta IV/DMSP-17 (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program), from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
‘This important review successfully demonstrated our requirements maturity and readiness to proceed with a low risk, high confidence program to provide exceptional positioning and timing capabilities for both military and civil users worldwide,’ said Don DeGryse, vice president, Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems.
‘We look forward to working with our customer to achieve mission success on this critical initiative.’