Date/Site/Launch: Thursday, November 05, 2020, GPSIII-04 (SVN-77/PRN-14) launched from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It should be noted that the Space Force Second Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS) will issue a LAUNCH NANU at a later date after on-orbit checkout when control of SVN-77 is transferred from Lockheed Martin to 2 SOPS for insertion into the GPS control segment.
Rocket/Payload: A SpaceX Falcon 9/ GPSIII-04 mission for the U.S. Air Force.
Constellation Changes: 2 SOPS indicates that III-04, SVN-77/PRN-14, will replace SVN-44/PRN-28 in the B plane at slot 03.
III-2/SVN 75, launched on 22 Aug 2019, replaced SVN 45/PRN-21 at D3 and was set healthy on 01 Apr ‘20. As a result, SVN 45 is currently being re-phased from D3 to D2F replacing SVN 46/PRN 11 and will arrive sometime in November of this year. SVN 46 will be taken out of the operational constellation prior to the January 2021 launch of GPSIII-05 SVN-78 and sent to Launch, Anomaly, Resolution, and Disposal Operations (LADO) making PRN-11 available.
III-3/SVN 76/PRN-23, launched 30 June 2020 was set operational and set healthy on October 01, 2020.
SVN-46, launched on 07 October of 1999, has been an “Iron Bird” workhorse in the D-plane and has successfully served the world’s GPS users for over 20 years. This is over 12 years past its designed service life, having operationally outlasted (and in many cases, outperformed) many of its peers on-orbit, testament to quality engineering and the diligent efforts of the men and women of the U.S. Air Force.