- Published on Friday, 28 August 2009 22:28
The last in the series of eight modernized Global Positioning System IIR satellites, GPS IIR-21(M), was declared operational Thursday for military and civilian users worldwide, just 10 days after launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. “The 50th Space Wing is extremely proud of adding this new satellite to the operational constellation and we look forward to continuing to use this spacecraft to help with the current fight as well as to support civil users around the world,” said Colonel Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing Commander.
GPS IIR-21(M) will join the constellation of 30 operational satellites on orbit providing global coverage and increased overall performance of GPS service. This IIR-M satellite provides improved accuracy, enhanced encryption, anti-jamming capabilities, and a second civil signal to provide dual frequency capability and improve resistance to interference.
“GPS will continue to meet and exceed its operational requirements and we will maintain our commitment to sustain the constellation and modernize GPS by developing and fielding new capabilities,” said Colonel Dave Madden, Commander, Space and Missile Systems Center’s Global Positioning Systems Wing. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication to mission success between the 45th and 50th Space Wings, United Launch Alliance, our industry partners, the Launch and Range Systems Wing, and the GPS Wing, GPS will continue to provide precise positioning, navigation and timing services for troops fighting the war on terror, civil and commercial users worldwide.”
The current GPS constellation has the most satellites and the greatest capability in the system’s history, according to the Air Force, which has operated the GPS since the 1970s. The improved signals provided by the GPS satellites will continue to provide services any time, any place, right time, and right place supporting both the warfighter and the growing needs of our global economy, the Air Force said in a press release.
Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the U.S. Air Force’s center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC consists of six space systems wings and three groups responsible for GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.