GPS Satellite Reaches 20 Years in Space

The second Global Positioning System Block IIA satellite on Monday reached 20 years on orbit. It’s still functioning as part of the current 31-satellite GPS constellation. The Air Force and its industry partners launched GPS Block IIA-11 (SVN-24) into space on July 4, 1991; USAF cleared it for use on Aug. 31, 1991. SVN-24 follows SVN-23 (Block IIA-10) in achieving the milestone of 20 years in space. The latter entered the realm on Nov. 26, 1990. Both have functioned on orbit nearly three times longer than the 7.5-year design life of the Rockwell-built (now Boeing) Block IIA spacecraft. The current GPS constellation consists of: 11GPS Block IIAs, 12 Block IIRs, 7 Block IIR-Ms, and the first Block IIF satellite. The second IIF spacecraft is on track to launch from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., on July 14. (Los Angeles release)