Air Force and contractor space personnel at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., launched a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket on Dec. 20, successfully boosting a new Global Positioning System satellite into orbit. It is the fifth GPS IIR-M satellites launched into orbit. Mark Wilkins, vice president of ULA’s Delta Programs, said, “With the launch of GPS IIR-18(M), ULA completes a tremendously successful first year of operation and demonstrates its commitment to 100 percent mission success.” ULA is a merger of launch services of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The mission marked the 56th consecutive successful launch overseen by the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles. (Read more about GPS-IIR-18 mission.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.