That’s four launches already for SpaceX this year.
SpaceXA Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral in Florida on Wednesday (January 18) at 7:24 AM EST (1224 GMT) carrying a new US GPS constellation navigation satellite.
Use the revamped Global Satellite Positioning System Falcon 9 The first stage booster, which was previously propelled to the International Space Station Crew 5 NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Kasada, Japanese mission specialist Koichi Wakata and Russia’s Anna Kikina.
The first stage successfully detached from the payload-carrying upper stage approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds after clearing the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape, descended safely to Earth, and landed on a SpaceX drone ship named “A Shortfall of Gravitas” about 8 minutes later. And 40 seconds after takeoff.
SpaceX said in a live broadcast of the launch that the fairing, which protects the payload during the first stage of the rocket’s ascent, will be retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean for future reuse.
The GPS III 06 spacecraft, an advanced satellite, continued to orbit past the first stage and detach the fairing over the Falcon 9 upper stage. The upper stage carried the payload to an altitude of about 2,670 miles (4,300 km) above the Earth’s surface where it launched the satellite about an hour later and 30 minutes from takeoff.
the SatellitesNamed after the famous aviator and first woman to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart will now single-handedly continue her operational orbit 12,500 miles (20,200 kilometers) above our planet.
Amelia Earhart is the sixth in the GPS III series. Another one, named after Neil ArmstrongAnd Launched in June 2021. Satellite owned and operated by a company US Space Force, is part of a larger push to modernize the country’s GPS fleet. The new satellite is expected to be 15 years old and will eventually form part of a constellation of 32 next-generation satellites. According to its maker, Lockheed Martin (Opens in a new tab).
Lockheed Martin states that the latest generation of GPS spacecraft has up to three times the accuracy, an eightfold improvement in anti-jamming systems and a new adaptive modular design to “better meet the needs of changing missions and emerging threats.”
The company says nearly half of the world’s population (or four billion users) rely on GPS technology for everything from transportation to close monitoring of agriculture to utility infrastructure (some of which use GPS in part to locate service areas).
However, the US GPS network is not the only available array of navigation satellites. The European Union has an independent group known as Galileo, which Russia owns glonass, and China has a system called Beidou. The autonomy of GPS systems is often raised as an important issue of national sovereignty and security, particularly in the wake of Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of “Why am I taller (Opens in a new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @tweet. Follow us on Twitter @tweet or Facebook.
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