The last GPS Block IIF satellite built by the Boeing Co. was sent into orbit for the U.S. Air Force today, filling out a set of a dozen.
United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket carried the 3,500-pound GPS IIF-12 satellite into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at the start of today’s launch window, at 8:38 a.m. ET (5:38 a.m. PT). Hours later, the rocket’s Centaur upper stage put the satellite into a 12,700-mile-high orbit.
Today’s launch was the first one of the year for United Launch Alliance, which is a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture.
The 12 Block IIF satellites are part of the Air Force’s Global Positioning System constellation, which provides navigation data for users worldwide. Those users range from Air Force controllers calling in air strikes to drivers, sailors and hikers trying to figure out how to get where they want to go.