countdown was stopped with 2 seconds remaining for the liftoff!
On Friday night, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the latest updated GPS satellite for the US Space Force from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This new spacecraft aims to help upgrade the existing GPS fleet. It is the fourth GPS satellite to travel to the orbit in the last three
years but the 3rd one to be launched by SpaceX.
The flight GPS III SV04 is a vehicle that will
take this new satellite to the orbit, making it the 31 primary GPS satellites
in orbit. Produced by Lockheed Martin, these GPS III satellites gave a new M-Code
signal embedded in them, which make the satellites reportedly much more accurate than the previous ones and have better and advanced “anti-jamming” features
to resist cyber-attacks.
The GPS III satellites are also supposed to have better accessibility and ease of use for civilians. The vehicles have a latest “civil
signal” that enables them to communicate easily with nearby satellite
navigation systems present in space, particularly Galileo constellation in Europe having more than two dozen spacecraft. In this way, ordinary and commercial users
seeking to leverage the system will have more advanced spacecraft overhead all the time.
The process of launching these GPS III
replacements have been faced with several delays, including some related to the
pandemic. Though, Lockheed Martin gave a go-ahead for the fifth satellite and
said it’s waiting for its launch date. Meanwhile, the company says that they
are still working on five additional GPS III satellites and three of them are
almost finished and are at their testing stage.
The takeoff of GPS III SV04 is slated at 9:43 PM ET, on top of Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX from the Cape Canaveral Air Force in
Florida. The company is using a brand-new Falcon 9 rocket to transport the
satellite into the orbit. They plan to recover the Falcon 9 after the flight
and decide to land the vehicle on company’s one of the floating drone ships present in
the Atlantic Ocean.
On Friday night October 2nd, at the
launch date, SpaceX stopped or aborted the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket just two seconds
before liftoff, without releasing any clear explanation as to what went wrong
at the last second. SpaceX hasn’t confirmed the launch date yet.