United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V two-stage rocket liftoff from Cape Canaveral last 29-October with GPS IIF-8 aboard.
Built by Boeing, GPS IIF-8 is one of the next-generation GPS satellites, incorporating various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased signals, and enhanced performance for users. It is the eighth GPS IIF satellite launched, the fourth this year by ULA. Three are in storage awaiting launch, and one is in production for a total of twelve of this series replacing GPS IIA.
GPS IIF-8 (SVN-69/PRN-03) will replace SVN-51 in the E plane slot 1.
SVN-51 will be re-phased (process takes about six months after the initial burn occurs) from E1 to an auxiliary node at E7 somewhere around SVN-54 currently on station at E4. This re-phase will take .
SVN-38/PRN-08 will be taken out of the operational constellation prior to SVN-69 payload initialization and sent to Launch, Anomaly Resolution and Disposal Operations (LADO). PRN-08 will be assigned initially to SVN-49 and set to test. SVN-38 was launched on November 5, 1997, successfully serving nearly 17 years, 9.5 years beyond its designed service life.
Two GPS launches are scheduled to occur next year, with the next launch being of a Delta IV with GPS IIF-9 in March. GPS IIF-10 will ride an Atlas into orbit in June.