SpaceX has sent another satellite to space. Weeks after the Elon Musk-led company was originally set to deliver a cutting-edge GPS satellite to the cosmos, the outfit is celebrating its latest successful launch using either repaired or refurbished rockets. Around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Saturday night, SpaceX officially sent its Falcon 9 launch vehicle to space to deliver the GPS-3 satellite in what observers deem was a flawless launch.
Built by Lockheed Martin, the GPS-3 satellite is the fourth such satellite to help boost massive third-generation navigation systems. In this particular case, the satellite was launched into space on behalf of the United States Space Force.
"GPS-3 provides three times greater accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming power over satellites in the existing constellation," Lockheed acting vice president of Navigation Systems Tonya Ladwig said in a recent press conference. "For those keeping score, the four more powerful GPS-3 satellites will represent a little better than 12% of the 31 satellites in the constellation, but the number's growing."
This launch had previously been scheduled for October 2nd, but was shut down just two seconds before liftoff before a flight computer detected unusual pressures in two of the craft's nine engines.
Lockheed is currently crafting 10 additional GPS Block 3 satellites, which cost around $529 million each. The manufacturer also owns a contract for the creation of an additional 22 satellites, valued upwards of $7.2 billion.
Later this month, SpaceX also has its second launch with astronauts scheduled to launch after a successful test mission earlier this year. On November 14th, NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi are set to head to the International Space Station for something NASA calls a "full duration mission."0comments
The original test launch with Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley launched May 30th, before the duo returned to the planet August 2nd. For those in the area, Viewing Package tickets for the November 14th launch can be purchased through the Kennedy Space Center website.
Cover photo by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images