SpaceX is readying their Falcon 9 rocket to launch the third Block III Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite, named SV03. Block III is the next generation of GPS satellites, replacing the aging Block II series. This will be SpaceX’s second GPS launch, out of the five they have been awarded so far. SV03 is scheduled to launch from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 3:55 PM ET on June 30.
SpaceX previously launched the maiden GPS Block III satellite, SV01, on a Falcon 9 in December 2018. SV01 was the first launch contract that SpaceX won in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
In March 2017, SpaceX beat United Launch Alliance (ULA) to secure the launch contract for the third Block III satellite, SV03. At that time, the launch of SV03 was expected in early 2019.
Although SV01 and SV03 have flown or will fly on a Falcon 9 Block 5, their mission profiles will be slightly different.
For SV01’s launch, the Air Force requested that the Falcon 9 fly in an expendable configuration to dedicate more performance to the satellite. This meant that the first stage – the new core B1054 – had to ...