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Author Topic:   GPS Satellite IIF-7
jimh posted 07-31-2014 10:37 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The launch of GPS satellite IIF-7 is planned for Friday, August 1, 2014, with a launch window beginning at 11:23 p.m. EDT. The satellite will be carried into orbit on an ATLAS V 401 rocket.

Like satellites IIF-5 and IIF-6 sucessfully launched earlier this year, GPS IIF-7 is another in the GPS Block IIF class or "Follow-on" satellites. These are considered an intermediate class of spacecraft, which are replacing the GPS Block IIA satellites launched in the 1990's. The Block IIF satellites transmit the L5 Safety of Life signal. A total of twelve Block IIF satellites are planned, before the constellation of satellites will move to implementation of the GPS Block III satellites.

The GPS IIF-7 satellite is space vehicle number SVN-68. After launch there will be a domino effect, with several other satellites moving orbits, and the last phase will be to remove SVN-33 from the operational constellation. SVN-33 has been in orbit since 1996, providing over 17-years of service. Its original design life was only ten years.

The night launch should provide a rather impressive sight to those able to observe it in northern Florida. A live webcast is planned. Check for details at

http://www.ulalaunch.com/atlas-v-to-launch-gps-iif7.aspx?title=Atlas+V+ to+Launch+GPS+IIF-7

The Atlas V 401 first stage rocket engine is actually a Russian-built RD-180 engine. As a result of the political dispute in May 2014 in the Ukraine, Russia has announced it will no longer supply United Launch Alliance (ULA) with rocket engines for military launches. When the supply on-hand of the RD-180 engines is exhausted, ULA will transition to the Delta family of rockets, which employ engines made in the USA.

For more information on the L5 Safety-of-Life signal, see

http://www.space.commerce.gov/gps/modernization.shtml#signals

As far as I know, there are no present-day recreational marine GPS receivers which can utilize the L5 signal. It will probably not be possible to utilize the L5 signal until there are more satellites in the GPS constellation that are sending the signal. Perhaps by c.2020 it may be more useful.

jimh posted 08-01-2014 11:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The GPS IIF-7 launch went on time and without any problems. A comprehensive summary of the launch can be found at

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/08/ ula-atlas-v-friday-night-launch-gps-iif-7-satellite/

Note that another GPS IIF-series satellite is schedule for launch in October 2014.

jimh posted 09-24-2014 01:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The USCG NavCen posted the following notice:

quote:
CONDITION: GPS SATELLITE SVN68 (PRN09) WAS USABLE AS OF JDAY 260
(17 SEP 2014) BEGINNING 2026 ZULU.

Cf.: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?Do=gpsShowNanu&num=2014071

I am a little confused. Apparently GPS IIF-7 is now PRN 09 and said to be in Plane F Slot 6. That information contradicts the pre-launch information I found earlier. In any case, your latest billion-dollar GPS satellite is now working and can be used for navigation.

jimh posted 09-24-2014 01:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The next GPS-IIF satellite, GPS IIF-8 SVN-69, is tentatively scheduled for launch on October 29, 2014.

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