GPS IIR-20 Successfully Launches from Cape Canaveral

3/24/2009 – Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. — The U.S. Air Force successfully launched the seventh modernized Global Positioning System IIR-M satellite carried aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II Rocket at 4:34 a.m. EDT March 24 from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The GPS IIR-20 (M) launch is the Space and Missile Systems Center’s 60th consecutive launch success, and the third for the Launch and Range Systems Wing in 2009.

"This morning’s successful launch of GPSIIR-20 was the direct result of a unified Delta II and GPS team that sustained a laser focus on mission success for more than a year," said John Wagner, Mission Director for the launch and Chief Technical Director for the Launch and Range Systems Wing. "Congratulations to the United Launch Alliance, Lockheed Martin, and our entire Air Force team on a job well done. This launch marks the second mission in what will be a busy year for the Launch and Range Systems Wing, delivering critical space capabilities for our nation."

The GPS satellite will join the constellation of 31 operational satellites on-orbit providing global coverage and increased overall performance of GPS services to users worldwide. The GPS IIR-M satellites offer a variety of enhanced features for GPS users such as two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption, anti-jamming capabilities and a second civil signal to provide dual frequency capability and improve resistance to interference.

"I’m extremely pleased with the success of this today’s launch. We launched the seventh of eight modernized GPS IIR satellites, leaving one more satellite to be launched later this year. The GPS constellation is being modernized to improve operations, sustainment, and overall performance of GPS services for the warfighter, international, commercial and civil users. These improved capabilities ensure GPS remains the gold standard for positioning, navigation and timing service. The successful outcome of today’s launch was due to hard work of the men and women of the 45th and 50th Space Wing, our industry partners, and the Delta II and GPS IIR launch teams," said Col. David Madden, Commander, Global Positioning Systems Wing.

GPS IIR-20(M) will assume plane B, slot 2 position replacing space vehicle number (SVN) 30. The satellite is expected to be set healthy for navigation users worldwide next month.

The Air Force is expected to launch its last GPS IIR-M satellite in August of this year from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This next mission will also be the last Air Force Delta II mission as it transitions all its launch services to the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.