US: The accuracy of the Global Positioning System (GPS) has been improved with the recent handover of a fifth Boeing GPS IIF satellite to the US Air Force, claims a release issued by Boeing Defense, Space & Security. The newest addition to the GPS constellation, GPS IIF-5, was made on February 20, 2014 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Delta 4 rocket after a five-month delay prompted by questions about the rocket’s upper stage engine. The Air Force, which operates the GPS system, and Boeing have now completed deployment and validation of the spacecraft's systems, stabilising the vehicle and activating its navigation payload.
The first GPS IIF satellite was launched on May 27, 2010 and entered service on August 26, 2010. The second satellite, which launched on July 16, 2011, entered service on August 22, 2011. The third satellite launched on October 4, 2012, and entered service 22 days later. The fourth IIF was launched May 15, 2013, and entered service on June 21, 2013. All 12 satellites in the GPS IIF series have completed production. The Air Force plans to launch the remaining IIF satellites by 2016.
GPS IIF is the product of Boeing's long legacy with the GPS, dating back to the beginning of the very first GPS program in 1974. As the prime contractor on the GPS Block I, Block II, and Block IIA and Block IIF programs, Boeing has built 40 of the 62 GPS satellites launched since 1978.
The GPS IIF delivers improved accuracy, greater security and anti-jam capabilities while maintaining baseline legacy GPS performance. The Air Force, which operates the GPS system, and Boeing have now completed deployment and validation of the spacecraft's systems, stabilising the vehicle and activating its navigation payload.
Boeing is preparing the next (GPS IIF-6) satellite – the sixth of the 12 – for a second quarter launch. According to an unofficial NASA launch manifest quoted by Spacenews.com, the launch May 15 from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta 4.