Final Countdown

The last in the Air Force’s series of eight modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR satellites is set to launch next week from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. In a release Monday, prime contractor Lockheed Martin said this spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-21(M), is set for placement in orbit on Aug. 17 aboard a Delta II rocket. “We are ready for flight,” said Col. Dave Madden, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s GPS Wing. He added, “We look forward to enhancing the GPS constellation with this last IIR-M satellite.” Lockheed’s industry ream, including payload provider ITT, built 21 IIR satellites and subsequently modified eight of those to the IIR-M configuration, which added increased signal power, two new military signals, a second civil signal, and enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities.