Monday, November 20, 2006

Air Force launches Delta II/GPS Mission

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFPN) -- The Air Force successfully launched a Delta II booster from Cape Canveral, Fla., Nov. 17.

The joint government and industry launch was carrying the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System satellite (GPS 2R-16). This launch was led by the 45th Space Wing.

The satellite launched is the third of the modernized GPS satellites that incorporates various improvements that will provide greater accuracy, increased resistance to interference and enhanced performance for users.

It will become part of a system consisting of a 24-satellite constellation that provides continuous and precise navigation and timing information to military and civilian users worldwide.

"This success is another example of how the 45th Space Wing is at the leading edge of providing combat effects to our warfighters," said Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander.

Capt. Greg Vice, of the 1st Space Launch Squadron, was the Air Force launch crew commander for the mission.

"Our launch team is tremendous," he said. "This was our third Delta II launch within seven weeks. Launching systems such as GPS is one of the many ways space operators contribute to the Global War on Terror."

The GPS is a space-based positioning and navigation system. Operations such as mapping, aerial refueling, rendezvous operations, geodetic surveying and, search and rescue operations have all benefited from GPS accuracy.

Launch information from the Milcom Space Desk:

Satellite Name: GPS 58/SVN 58/GPS 2R-16/M3
COSPAR Intl Designator: 2006-052A
SSC #: 29601
Launch Date: November 17, 2006
Launc Time: 1912 UTC
Launch Place: Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 17A
Launch Vehicle: Delta 7925-9.5
Orbital Parameters: 20363 x 20205 km, 722.1 minute period, 55 deg inclination
Downlink frequencies:

Civilian L1: 1575.42 MHz (Coarse Acquisition)
Civilian L2: 1227.60 MHz
Military L3: 1381.05 MHz [Nuclear burst detection]
Military L4: 1841.40 MHz (Ionospheric Correction)
Civilian L5: 1176.45 MHz
TT&C: 2227.50 MHz

GPS 2R-16/M3
1 29601U 06052A 06323.26568287 .00000091 00000-0 00000+0 0 78
2 29601 055.0507 135.5549 0029538 246.4743 304.2309 01.99417021 51

Photo courtesy of Carleton Braille and Boeing.