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Author Topic:   GPS IIF-10 Launch
jimh posted 06-30-2015 09:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The launch of GPS IIF-10, the tenth of 12 planned GPS satellite in the IIF series, is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is believed this satellite will be designated SVN 72; SVN 40 will be decommissioned to make room for the new satellite in the GPS constellation. SVN 40 is a Block IIA satellite, and upon its retirement there will only be two Block IIA satellites left in service.

The GPS IIF-10 satellite will be the second GPS launch of 2015. The satellite will be carried into orbit atop an ATLAS V 401 launch vehicle.

A webcast of the launch will be available on launch day from

The GPS IIF block of satellites carry the legacy signals, L1 C/A, L1 P(Y),and L2 P(Y). They add new signals for civilian use at the L2 and L5 carrier, and improve military signals at the L1 and L2 carriers. More information on the GPS IIF series from

If the launch goes as planned on July 15, it will be two days before the 20th anniversary of an important milestone in GPS history: on July 17, 1995 the Air Force announced the Global Positioning System had achieved full operational capability.

jimh posted 07-08-2015 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
With about a week to go before the scheduled launch, let me give a bit more detail about the rocket that will lift GPS IIF-10 into orbit.

The ATLAS V 401 has been a very reliable launching system, and it is described in detail at

The most interesting aspect of the ATLAS V 401 is the main rocket motor, an RD-180. The RD-180 is manufactured by NPO ENERGOMASH, a Russian company. Although the United Launch Alliance calls the overall rocket an ATLAS--a very American sounding name and a familiar name in the history of American rocketry--the first-stage rocket motor is made in Russia, by Russians, from Russian technology.

A Wikipedia article at RD-180#Replacement_for_the_RD-180_engine_on_US_Atlas_launch_vehicle

gives more insight into the geo-politics of the USA using a Russian rocket. Apparently we are looking at the end of this cooperation in the near future, due to the politics of Mr. Putin and the dispute in the Ukraine.

A replacement for the RD-180 motor is being developed by BLUE ORIGIN. BLUE ORIGIN is a private rocket company headed by Jeff Bezos. If that name is familiar, it is because Jeff Bezos is the founder of AMAZON.COM. Mr. Bezos is a multi-billionaire.

As someone who grew up in the 1960's watching the USA get to the moon on rockets that were designed and manufactured in the USA, it seems unsettling that we rely on a Russian rocket motor to get our GPS satellites into orbit in 2015.

number9 posted 07-09-2015 12:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for number9  Send Email to number9     
Yes, [the date of July 17, 2015, the 20th anniversary of full operation status of the NAVSTAR GPS system is] an important milestone in GPS history, yet [changed topic to begin to discuss historical dates in his personal use of the Air Force NAVSTAR Global Positioning System and his own recollections of GPS receiver technology.]
jimh posted 07-16-2015 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The launch of GPS IIF-10 was a success.
jimh posted 08-18-2015 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Update on SVN 72 or GPS IIF-10: According to the GPS status website at

(12 AUG 2015) BEGINNING 1653 ZULU

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