This was the first time that SpaceX has recovered a booster following a launch mission in the national security space.
WASHINGTON – A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a Space Force GPS 3 satellite in the United States on June 30th. The rocket took off at 16:10. East from Cape Canaveral, Florida,
About eight minutes after takeoff, SpaceX landed on Falcon 9’s brand new first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
This was Falcon 9’s 87th successful mission and the 49th first stage recovered from SpaceX. It also marked the first time the company recovered a booster following a launch mission in the national security area.
The $ 568 million payload, the third GPS 3 satellite made by Lockheed Martin, separated from the second stage of the rocket about an hour and 29 minutes after takeoff. The satellite was deployed in an average Earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 1
SpaceX first launched a GPS 3 satellite on December 23, 2018. After the mission on June 30, the company is under contract to launch three more GPS 3 satellites in the next two years.
Tonya Ladwig, vice president of the Navigation Systems division of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, said that GPS 3 satellites offer three times greater accuracy and eight times more anti-jamming power than the previous generation of satellites. It also adds a new L1C civil signal.
The new GPS 3 will join a constellation of 31 GPS satellites currently in operation. Each satellite goes around the earth twice a day.
Lockheed Martin said the new satellite is responding to commands from the program’s engineers at the launch and payment facility in Denver.
Ladwing said liquid apogee engines aboard the satellite will push him towards his orbit in the coming days. “Once we arrive, we will send satellite commands to distribute its arrays and solar antennas and prepare the satellite for delivery to command of space operations.”