SpaceX launched a new breed of GPS satellite for the United States Military on Sunday, marking the private space company’s first contracted mission for the country’s national security. A Falcon 9 rocket, carrying US Air Force’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) III space vehicle 01 (SV01), was launched at 8:51 a.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.The launch was previously scheduled on Tuesday but delayed four times due to technical and weather reasons.
The GPS III satellite, to be deployed to medium Earth orbit, is designed to deliver positioning, navigation, and timing information. It is three times more accurate than the previous system and up to eight times stronger in its anti-jamming capability. Because of mission requirements, SpaceX did not attempt to retrieve the reusable Falcon 9’s first stage after launch, according to SpaceX.
The launch is a landmark for SpaceX to make a presence in the lucrative military space launch market. In April 2016, SpaceX was awarded the first National Security Space mission and it has four other GPS III missions on contract.
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