DEC 23, 2018 04:47 PM PST

SpaceX Launches GPS III Satellite for the U.S. Air Force

Following a bevy of unforeseen delays, SpaceX officially launched its GPS III SV01 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday. The Falcon 9 rocket ignited its engines and blasted off from the launch pad at 8:51 A.M. Eastern time.

An image of the Falcon 9 rocket blasting off Sunday morning from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Image Credit: SpaceX

Citing an official statement by SpaceX, the United States Air Force ordered the launch earlier this year to send a brand-new Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite into orbit around the Earth. There, it would join 31 existing GPS satellites, augmenting the current system with new anti-jamming technology and enhanced location fetching accuracy.

One hour and 56 minutes after the Falcon 9 rocket left the launch pad, the GPS III satellite it took to space was deployed to medium Earth orbit. Unfortunately, the mission requirements made it impossible for SpaceX to attempt landing the Falcon 9 first stage for recovery and refurbishment, so it wasn’t attempted. 

As with most of SpaceX’s launches, the commercial space company streamed the whole event live from its website and YouTube channel. We’ve embedded that video below for your viewing pleasure:

Related: SpaceX sends 64 satellites into space all at once in record-setting rocket launch

Sunday’s launch was particularly crucial for SpaceX because it was the first time the commercial space company launched national security-centric payload for the United States government. But it won’t be the last; SpaceX says it’s poised to launch at four more GPS III missions in the future under the same contact, the next of which will fly to space mid-2019.

In addition to being a matter of national security, Sunday’s Falcon 9 launch just happened to be SpaceX’s 21st launch of 2018 – a new milestone. It was SpaceX’s final launch of the year, but 21 rocket launches in a single calendar year oversteps the commercial space company’s previous record of just 18 rocket launches in 2017.

It should be interesting to see whether SpaceX surpasses its new milestone in 2019, but only time will tell.

Source: SpaceX, Twitter, YouTube

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 25, 2018
Earth & The Environment
NOV 25, 2018
What Would Happen if An Asteroid Slammed Into One of Earth's Oceans?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if an asteroid plopped right into one of Earth’s oceans? Curious researchers wanted to know too, and so they...
JAN 16, 2019
Space & Astronomy
JAN 16, 2019
China Grew Plants on the Moon for the First Time, But They Didn't Last Long
Earlier this month, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) made history by becoming the first space agency ever to drop a lander on the ‘Dark...
FEB 03, 2019
Space & Astronomy
FEB 03, 2019
Explaining the Strange Orbit of 'The Goblin' with... a Ninth Planet?
Astronomers have tried to prove the existence of a ninth planet in our solar system for the better part of the last decade. This hypothetical planet has be...
FEB 12, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 12, 2019
The Darkest Part of the Universe--Boötes Void
In the northern night sky, you can sometimes find a foreleg-shaped cluster of stars known as the Boötes (Greek word for "herdsman") constell...
FEB 18, 2019
Space & Astronomy
FEB 18, 2019
An Inside Look at the Progress That's Being Made on the Mars 2020 Rover
NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is expected to launch sometime next year, so you’d be right to assume that NASA is making strides in manufacturing its n...
FEB 19, 2019
Space & Astronomy
FEB 19, 2019
NASA's InSight Lander Provides Daily Weather Reports from Mars
NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander touched down on the Martian surface less than t...
Loading Comments...