Atlas V Rocket Lifts Off Successfully With Satellite Payload
By Charles Parker // August 1, 2014
ABOVE LIVESTREAM: Watch the replay of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launch on Friday from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully delivered its government-sponsored navigation payload into orbit on Friday night after an on-time 11:23 pm launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41.
The Global Positioning System IIF-7 spacecraft separated with the Centaur upper stage after a 3 minute-24 second flight.
Weather had been a concern throughout the evening, but did not violate safety criteria at launch time. Parts of the countdown were slightly delayed by thunderstorms about five hours prior to lift-off, but technicians were able to make up time during two scheduled holds.
According to ULA, this generation of GPS satellites has military and civilian capabilities beyond many of the previous ones deployed.
It has two times greater predicted signal accuracy; an on-orbit, reprogrammable processor for receiving software uploads; and better capability to resist jamming by hostile forces. It meets “the needs of emerging doctrines of navigation warfare.”
The Navstar GPS constellation of 24 satellites is positioned around 11,000 miles above Earth. They transmit a continuous stream of navigation data for both military and civilian use. The signals include accurate time, location, and velocity measurements to assist warfighters in carrying out missions and civilians in using maps on cell phones.
This was the 47th Atlas V launch and the 54th GPS launch on a ULA rocket.
GPS IIF-7 is the ninth of 15 planned missions ULA is slated to launch in 2014, and ULA’s 86th since the company formed in 2006.
The next launch from CCAFS will be on August 5 as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will loft AsiaSat 8 – a communications satellite that will support direct broadcasting, private networks and broadband connectivity for customers in China, India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The launch window is 1:15 – 3:25 am.