|Spectators in Cocoa Beach, Florida were treated to a picture-perfect Delta IV launch. Brevard Times photo.|
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV successfully launched the sixth Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-6 satellite for the U.S. Air Force at 8:03 p.m. EDT on Friday from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The satellite was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium-plus configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) using a single ULA common booster core powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, along with two ATK GEM-60 solid rocket motors. The upper stage was powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine with the satellite encapsulated in a four-meter-diameter composite payload fairing.
“ULA is honored to work with this world-class U.S. government and contractor mission team, and we are proud to contribute to the GPS capabilities that were delivered to orbit today,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “Congratulations to the entire team on tonight’s successful launch of the GPS IIF-6 satellite and the continued one-launch-at-a-time focus.”
GPS IIF-6 is the sixth in a series of next generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
This is ULA’s fifth launch in 2014, and the 82nd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V NROL-33 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office scheduled for May 22 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.