SpaceX successfully launched a GPS III satellite for the U.S. Space Force today.
This launch did include a recovery attempt of the Falcon 9 booster, however, unlike the first GPS III launch that SpaceX launched in December 2018.
SpaceX says that it was able to work with its customer to ensure that it could complete its mission as planned, while retaining enough reserve fuel for a recovery attempt – something that didn’t happen with the first launch.
It’ll enter a geosynchronous orbit and work with other existing GPS III satellites on orbit, as well as other existing earlier generation GPS satellites operated by the U.S. SpaceX also says that its Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief ships will attempt fairing recovery at sea, not via catch but by fishing them out of the water.
This afternoon, SpaceX is set to launch a new GPS satellite for the US Space Force out of Cape Canaveral, Florida — part of an ongoing quest by the Department of Defense to update the GPS constellation already in orbit.
The Space Force reduced the amount of crew needed to handle the satellite at launch, moved some of the terminals around, and put up partitions for extra separation.
In the meantime, extra precautions are also being taken at the launch site at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is slated to launch.
Different sets of people are assigned to separate flights so that there is no “cross contamination” between personnel jumping from one mission to the next.
Takeoff is scheduled for 3:55PM ET out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.