Spacex halts launch of US military satellite due to winds


The next GPS III satellite is due to launch in mid-2019, Eschenfelder said, while subsequent satellites undergo testing in the company's Colorado processing facility.

The spacecraft's life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest Global Positioning System satellites on-orbit today.

The satellite is one in a series of 10 third-generation satellites ordered by the Air Force with three times better accuracy, eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, 25 percent longer spacecraft lifespan and the capability to broadcast signals compatible with other worldwide global navigation systems, including Europe's Galileo. The satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 8:51 a.m. EST on December 23, 2018.

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The dispatch was initially booked for 2014 however has been limped by generation delays, the Air Force said.

SpaceX has launched payloads for the USA military before, but Vespucci is the company's first official "National Security Space" mission - a designation reserved for liftoffs deemed critical to national defense.

GPS III SV01 is the first of an entirely new, next generation GPS satellite created to modernize the GPS constellation.

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Lockheed Martin is building the new satellites outside Denver.

SpaceX is already under contract to launch four more GPS III missions. The GPS III satellite, known as GPS 3 SV01 and nicknamed "Vespucci, will feature higher-power positioning, timing signals, and navigation around the world".

This launch is SpaceX's final of the year, marking a record-number of annual launches for the company. It is but one of 32 planned GPS III satellites that will replace older ones now in orbit.

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The next launch attempt will be on Sunday at 8:51 a.m. EST/ 13:51 UTC, according to Space X officials. That won't happen for a few years though, as the Air Force is still working on the ground control system needed to control this next generation of navigation.