Monday , October 18 2021

The SpaceX rocket finally launches the first spy satellite into space after a series of setbacks


SpaceX has launched a next generation GPS satellite for the US Air Force, after nearly a week of delays in the Falcon 9 rocket.

The launch was originally scheduled for December 18 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, but weather conditions and technical issues forced the launch to be postponed four times.

It is the first time Elon Musk's private space company launches a satellite for the US military as part of a $ 83 million contract with the Air Force.

The lucrative military satellites market was once dominated by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. However, SpaceX successfully entered a process in 2014 to open it.

The spy satellite – nicknamed Vespucci, after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci – will join the current constellation of 31 Air Force operational GPS satellites.

"The launch is always a monumental event, especially since this is the first GPS satellite of its generation launched on SpaceX's first space mission," said Air Force spokesman Lt. Gen. John Thompson.

"As more GPS III satellites join the constellation, it will bring better service at a lower cost to a technology that is now fully integrated into the fabric of any modern civilization."

Colonel Robert Bongiovi, the company's launch director, added: "The first launch of the GPS III marks a significant milestone for the GPS constellation as well as our partnership with SpaceX. This launch demonstrated the success of teamwork and cooperation among all mission partners to deliver the capabilities our combatant demands. "

SpaceX described the capabilities of its cargo in its mission overview, noting that the launch is "critical for national defense."

O SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the military satellite successfully launched on December 23, 2018, from Cape Canaveral, Florida (SpaceX)

The space company said: "The newest generation of GPS satellites has been designed and built to provide positioning, navigation and timing information with three-fold accuracy and up to eight-fold improved anti-jamming capability."

Unlike recent SpaceX missions, no attempt was made to land the first phase of the rocket, although Air Force officials initially suggested the launch might include a landing.

SpaceX will release a minimum of four subsequent GPS satellites as part of its contract with the Air Force.

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