For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL – A new SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is poised for liftoff carrying the newest GPS III series navigations satellite for the U.S. military and the Space Force to orbit for a launch planned tonight Friday October 2 – weather permitting.
So far so good but this launch comes on the heels of repeated launch scrubs and postponements for both technical and weather issues this past month for both SpaceX and ULA.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite, Space Vehicle 04 (SV04) rolled out and raised already into launch position at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-40 prior to the launch attempt of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy at nearby Space Launch Complex-37 which ultimately was scrubbed a day ago at T Minus 7 seconds.
In fact there are 3 rockets vertical at 3 launch pads at the moment at pads 39A, 40 and 37 involving two single stick SpaceX Falcon 9s and one triple stick ULA Delta IV Heavy.
GPS serves a broad array of both civilian and military functions.
SpaceX will launch the fourth in a series of next generation GPS satellites on a newly manufactured Falcon 9 on Friday evening Oct. 2 at 9:43 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL.
The launch window for the GPSIII SV04 mission for the U.S. Space Force extends 15 minutes until 9:58 p.m. ET.
“GPS III SV04 will join the current 31-satellite operational constellation to continue to provide the gold standard in positioning, navigation, and timing services for more than four billion users worldwide,” says the U.S. Space and Missile Command.
Enjoy our Space UpClose gallery of images captured at the pad this morning by the team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright.
New target launch dates for have not yet been announced.
Stay tuned for further news and scrubs especially due to weather and schedule changes
Torrential rains, lightning and thunderstorms inundated Central Florida periodically over the weekend and this week as the multiple storm fronts moved in and out.
As a result, what was the third launch of the bunch of a GPS navigation satellite for the U.S. Space Force was also delayed several times – now to Friday evening.
SpaceX will broadcast both their 2 Falcon 9 launches live starting about 15 minutes before planned liftoff time:
The weather outlook is decent for the GPS launch with a forecast of 70% GO at launch time – as of this moment.
In case of any delay the weather outlook drops significantly to a very poor only 20% GO.
Military leaders announced that the U.S. Space Force will now permit use of ‘flight-proven’ Falcon 9 rocket for military launches following a thorough evaluation and verification of all rocket systems with SpaceX.
This 1st stage GPS booster will be recovered on the sea going droneship, returned to Port Canaveral and reflown on the next GPS III launch of the SV05 satellite next summer, Dr Walter Lauderdale of the Space and Missile Systems directorate told me during a Sept. 25, 2020 media briefing.
Just seconds before liftoff the countdowns were aborted first for a ULA Delta IV Heavy at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station just before midnight Sept 30 and then second for a SpaceX Falcon 9 at the Kennedy Space Center a few miles north at breakfast time on Thursday morning, October 1.
Liftoff of the 23-story tall triple stick United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket on the NROL-44 intelligence gathering mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) had been re-slated for 11:54 p.m. EDT (0358 GMT) Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2020 from seaside Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida – following the earlier scrubs for the hot fire abort and faulty ground launch pneumatic systems and the swing arm problem as well as weather.
Both the NROL 44 and GPS satellite launches are for the US military
GPS III SV 04 has three times more accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capability vs the currently orbiting GPS constellation in the earlier GPS II series. A vast improvement for both military and civilian users of GPS.
The GPS III series is built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
SpaceX will attempt to recover both Falcon 9 boosters on their 2 droneships: Of Course I Still Love You & Just Read The Instructions
Watch my commentary at WFTV Channel 9 ABC TV News Orland in this Sept. 25/26 report about 3 upcoming Space Coast launches in 3 days by ULA and SpaceX
Also Fox 35 TV News Orlando on Sep 28/29 about the impact of scheduling so many back to launches and impact of repeated launch scrubs.
Watch my live interview discussion of current space missions and launches on Sept. 18 edition of ‘Stay Curious’ daily space show presented by the American Space Museum, Titusville, FL.
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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