SpaceX Falcon 9 launches U.S. Space Force's GPS III SV06 Mission

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches U.S. Space Force's GPS III SV06 Mission

On Wednesday, January 18, SpaceX launched the U.S. Space Force's GPS III Space Vehicle 06 (SV06) Mission from the East Coast. A previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 7:24 a.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The mission deployed the GPS III SV06 satellite to orbit; It is the Space Force’s sixth third-generation (block III) Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite that has been launched. The military affectionately nicknamed the satellite ‘Amelia Earhart,’ after the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Falcon 9 first-stage booster that supported this mission is identified as B1077-2, it previously launched SpaceX’s Crew-5 astronauts to the International Space Station. The booster was recovered again to reuse around 8 minutes and 40 seconds after lift-off. B1077-2 landed on the ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ autonomous droneship which was stationed approximately 647 kilometers (km) downrange in the ocean east of Charleston, South Carolina. The droneship will navigate back to the port in Cape Canaveral with the booster. This was SpaceX’s 165 landing of an orbital-class rocket and the 140 time it reused a booster. During the live broadcast of the launch, a SpaceX commentator said the payload fairing will also be recovered from the Atlantic Ocean for future reuse.

The U.S. Space Force’s GPS III SV06 ‘Amelia Earhart’ satellite was released to orbit by Falcon 9’s upper-stage approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes after lift-off. SpaceX shared a video clip of the deployment, linked below. The satellite was placed into an altitude of around 4,300 km above our planet. It will use its onboard propulsion system to raise into an operational orbit of 20,200 km above Earth. GPS III SV06 was built by Lockheed Martin and is designed to upgrade the military’s GPS satellite fleet. It will have a lifetime of 15 years and serve the government and civilians with accurate navigation globally. The U.S. Space Force now operates a total of 32 GPS satellites in orbit and plans to be deploy two dozen more the coming years that will enhance the constellations capabilities to continue serving over four billion users around the world.

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Featured Image Source: SpaceX

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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