WASHINGTON (c4isrnet): The U.S. Space Force sent the fifth GPS III satellite into orbit June 17, launching from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The satellite will now travel to its orbit 12,550 miles above the earth’s surface with its onboard liquid apogee engine, where it will go through two weeks of on orbit testing and checkout. It is expected to enter operational use in a few months.
This was the first National Security Space Launch to use a reusable booster, saving the government $64.5 million according to the Space Force.
“Today’s launch culminated our work to use previously-flown hardware for NSSL missions,” said Walter Lauderdale, who leads the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Falcon work. “Our partnership with SpaceX enabled us to complete this huge milestone well in advance of our first Phase 2 NSSL launch, enhancing flexibility and resiliency for National Security Space missions.”