GPS IIF-7 satellite begins providing navigational services
The GPS IIF-7 satellite has completed the checkout phase on orbit and has entered into service with the rest of the Block IIF spacecraft already in orbit. GPS IIF-7 was launched on Aug. 1, 2014 atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA ) Atlas V 401 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41 ) in Florida.
As noted by the “7” in its name, this is the seventh of the Block IIF satellites to have reached orbit. Twelve total are planned for the fleet. The official designation by the U.S. Air Force, whose 50th Space Wing in Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado is tapped with managing the GPS IIF constellation, is Space Vehicle Number-68 (SVN-68).
The U.S. Air Force requires that each of the satellites undergo similar testing before being brought into service. The team tasked with checking GPS IIF-7 out completed their work in five days. A record according to a Boeing-issued press release. The 50th Space Wing took charge of the GPS IIF-7 satellite on Aug. 8.
“Handover to the 50th Space Wing is a huge milestone in a GPS satellite’s journey, confirming that it’s been put through its paces and all looks good,” said Boeing’s Vice President of Government Space Systems – Dan Hart. “A transfer as seamless as this one is even more satisfying for our Boeing GPS IIF team.”
GPS IIF-7 was placed into its final orbital location in September and was given a clean bill of health on Sept. 17.
“Boeing has delivered 45 of the 67 GPS satellites launched to date, accruing more than 525 years of on-orbit performance,” Hart said via the release. “It’s a track record of which we’re very proud, and we’re ready to get the remaining IIFs into orbit and continue our contributions to GPS today and in the future.”
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.