Second GPS Block IIF Satellite in Space

The Air Force’s second Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite is now on orbit and has transmitted its first signals from space. GPS IIF-2 “is functioning normally and ready to begin on-orbit maneuvers and operational testing,” announced prime contractor Boeing hours after the satellite’s launch on Saturday aboard a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. “I am extremely proud of the tremendous efforts that hundreds of people on the launch team have expended for today’s launch,” said Col. Bob Hodgkiss, the GPS IIF-2 mission director in the service’s release that same day. The first Block IIF satellite went into orbit in May 2010 and has been operational since last summer. The new configuration provides greater accuracy, a more jam-resistant military signal, and a more powerful and secure civilian signal. Boeing is under contract to build 12 of them. (See also our initial coverage.)