Space transportation and aerospace company, SpaceX has recently made headlines as it completes the launch of its 11th consecutive mission in 2020, propelling a new, cutting-edge GPS (global positioning system) satellite into space for the U.S. Space Force.
According to credible sources, the Falcon 9 rocket used for this mission was launched from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch comes in line with an ongoing effort by the DoD (Department of Defense) to upgrade currently orbiting GPS satellites in space.
The technology used in the constellation of aging GPS satellites launched 20 years ago has changed dramatically over the years. The new launch mission will help replace these archaic satellites that are currently in orbit.
The payload includes a 3rd GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin that will join two others that are already in orbit. Named GPS III SV03, the satellite is designed to be three times more accurate and hold up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities compared to its predecessors.
Meanwhile, the upgraded spacecraft is rigged with new features like the ability to communicate with satellites in other navigation constellations, allowing users to connect with more satellites in space, at greater accuracy. The new GPS satellites also have a longer lifespan.
In a bid to adhere to the guidelines suggested by the CDC over the current COVID-19 pandemic, officials at the U.S. Space Force have reduced the number of team members required to conduct the launch mission, distancing work stations and installing partitions between staff members.
Commenting on which, Col. Edward Byrne, Senior Leader of the MEO (Medium Earth Orbit) space systems division, Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Force, said that over the last three months of the coronavirus situation, the agency conducted several launch missions and has not got anyone sick.