Cape Canaveral to launch next Air Force's GPS Satellite
Thursday’s launch of the Air Force’s next Global Positioning System satellite atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral appears to have a favorable forecast.
Local 6 news partner Florida Today reported that there’s an 80-percent chance of favorable weather during the 19-minute window opening at 8:40 p.m. at Launch Complex 37, and a 70-percent chance on Friday if the launch is delayed.
The goal of the mission is to launch the GPS IIF-5, which is the fifth Boeing-built GPS IIF satellite. This satellite will replace an older member of the 31-spacecraft operational constellation.
This week marks final technical reviews for the satellite, as well as a mission dress rehearsal, before Wednesday’s Launch Readiness Review.
A mobile-service tower would roll back Thursday morning to reveal the 36-foot rocket in its “Medium+” configuration if the “go” is given to proceed with the countdown. It will also include two strap-on ATK solid rocket motors.
This launch has been delayed for months while ULA and the Air Force continued investigation of an engine thrust problem during a successful October 2012 launch of another GPS satellite.
The current rocket's upper stage Aerojet Rocketdyne RL-10B-2 engine has been cleared for flight, Florida Today reports. This launch will be the third this year from the Cape, the 25th by a Delta IV, and the 20th of those from Launch Complex 37.