SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch December 23, 2018

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch December 23, 2018

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launch December 23, 2018

The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying a $US500 million Global Positioning System satellite, which is the US Air Force's most powerful Global Positioning System satellite ever built, occurred at 1:51pm (local time) from Florida's Cape Canaveral.

Two hours later, SpaceX published an update on Twitter and confirmed that the GPS III SV01 satellite was successfully deployed to medium Earth orbit.

The company used a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket for the launch. The Air Force nicknamed the satellite "Vespucci" after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.

Built by, the satellite could eventually be one of as many as 32 satellites that the Air Force may order over the coming years to modernize its current satellite constellation.

The next GPS III satellite is due to launch in mid-2019, Mr Eschenfelder said, while subsequent satellites undergo testing in the company's Colorado processing facility.

The next year, SpaceX won an $83 million (65.6 million pounds) Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a lifespan of 15 years.

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ULA has flown eight missions in 2018, and a ninth is scheduled for no earlier than 30 December from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast.

This newest generation of GPS satellites is designed and built to deliver positioning, navigation, and timing information.

The launch of this Falcon 9 was the last scheduled for this year. However, the Air Force's work on the ground-based systems that is mandatory to operate it is still in progress, according to the Verge.

Elon Musk's SpaceX scrapped Saturday's launch of a long-delayed navigation satellite for the US military due to strong upper level winds. However, he added that future GPS III missions may feature attempts to recover the first stage, depending on flight results from Sunday's mission.

On Sept. 26, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.4 billion contract for support to start up the program and to contract the 11 and 12 GPS III satellite.

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