The U.S. military’s third GPS 3-series satellite, designated SV03, is prepared for encapsulation inside the payload fairing of its SpaceX-built Falcon 9 rocket. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX is preparing for liftoff Tuesday of its first mission for the U.S. Space Force, a launch from Cape Canaveral that will deploy a new GPS navigation satellite using a revamped profile to allow the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage booster to reserve enough propellant for landing on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The launch profile adjustment to make landing of the Falcon 9 booster possible ended up saving “several million dollars” for the military from the original SpaceX launch contract value of $96.5 million, according to Walter Lauderdale, mission director for the GPS SV03 launch from the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center.
The U.S. Space Force’s third GPS 3-series navigation satellite is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad during a 15-minute launch window opening at 3:55 p.m. EDT (1955 GMT) Tuesday. There’s a 60 percent chance of favorable weather, according to a forecast issued by the Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the spacecraft will join two previous GPS 3 satellites launched by ...