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SpaceX launches GPS satellite for Air Force with expended Falcon 9

Early this morning at 9:21am EST at Cape Canaveral, Florida, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carried the Air Force's GPS III space vehicle into orbit around Earth. Due to the requirements for this mission, the first stage of the Falcon 9 was expended and not recovered. The payload needs the extra performance to ensure it gets into the correct inclination for its orbit.

The GPS III satellite is the Air Force's first Global Positioning System III vehicle and will deliver positioning, navigations, and timing information with 3 times better accuracy than the satellites in the current constellation. GPS III will join the current constellation of 31 active GPS satellites. Alongside the accuracy improvements, it has improved anti-jamming capability by 8 times.

GPS III is a National Security Space (NSS) Mission and SpaceX has 4 more contracted launches of these satellites, which will all be launched on their Falcon 9 rocket.

Liftoff Photo: Richard Angle @rdanglephoto

Render: Reese Wilson @AstroReeseW

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