The Falcon 9 launch vehicle with a global positioning system satellite of the third generation GPS III of the US air force launched from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The launch process was broadcast on the website of the developer SpaceX.
The 3.8-tonne satellite will be the first in the planned orbital constellation of 32 next-generation satellites. It is planned that over time they will replace obsolete satellites, which currently provide a GPS signal around the world.
The launch was to take place on December 18. However, seven minutes before the launch, due to abnormal sensor readings at the first stage of the launch vehicle, it was canceled. Then, due to adverse weather conditions — strong wind in the area of the cosmodrome — it was transferred several times.
GPS III satellites have a large signal strength, allow to determine the location of civilian objects three times more accurately than currently used satellites, in which it is from 3 to 10 meters. The accuracy of the location of military facilities may be even higher, according to the website SpaceX.
Now the GPS system, which is operated by the US Air Force, is used by more than 4 billion people. Lockheed Martin Corporation is engaged in the production of new satellites. The lifetime of the new generation satellite is 15 years.