GPS IIF-8 Preparing for Launch

The next launch of a GPS IIF satellite is scheduled to take place Oct. 29, Air Force Space Command officials said. The satellite will leave Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., on an Atlas V rocket, marking the 50th Atlas rocket launch and the fourth GPS IIF launch this year. Once completed, the Air Force will “achieve the highest GPS launch tempo in over 20 years,” said Col. Bill Cooley, AFSPC’s director of the Global Positioning Systems Directorate, during an Oct. 24 teleconference. Cooley said if everything checks out, the newest satellite should be secure in the constellation “by mid-December.” This is the first GPS IIF launch to use the GPS metric tracking, rather than radar tracking, which ULA officials said will save on costs.