A Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF-1 satellite, built for the U.S. Air Force, is expected to be launched into orbit soon. Boeing is currently under Air Force contract to build 12 GPS IIF satellites. This will be the second satellite launched under the 12 GPS system satellite contract.
The GPS IIF satellites, with a design life of 12.7 years, will have improved anti-jam capability and substantially increased accuracy from earlier satellite versions. The GPS system signals are so accurate that time can be calculated to within a millionth of a second, velocity within a fraction of a mile per hour and location to within feet.
According to the Boeing GPS website, the first GPS IIF launch launched on May 27, 2010, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The second GPS IIF is scheduled to launch in late 2010 or early 2011.
GPS tracking systems and satellites are used to support hundreds of different applications such as land, sea, and airborne navigation, surveying, geophysical exploration, mapping and geodesy, vehicle tracking systems, aerial refueling and rendezvous, search and rescue operations, and a wide variety of additional applications. Civilian users range from commercial airlines, trucking fleets (GPS fleet tracking system), and law enforcement agencies to farmers, fishermen and hikers. New GPS system applications are perpetually emerging.
The GPS IIF system brings next-generation performance to the constellation. The GPS IIF vehicle is critical to U.S. national security and sustaining GPS constellation availability for global civil, commercial and defense applications. Besides sustaining the GPS constellation, IIF features more capability and improved mission performance.
Each GPS satellite delivers:
- Two times greater predicted signal accuracy than heritage satellites
- New L5 signals for more robust civil, commercial aviation
- Military signal “M-code” and variable power for better resistance to jamming in hostile environments, meeting the needs of emerging doctrines of navigation warfare
- A 12-year design life providing long-term service and reduced operating costs
- An on-orbit, reprogrammable processor, receiving software uploads for improved system operation