A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has just launched a U.S. Space Force GPS 3 satellite. The rocket lifted off at 4:10 p.m., from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The third GPS 3-series satellite designated GPS 3 SV03 is riding a 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket. The 9,505-pound spacecraft launched on a trajectory toward the northeast from Cape Canaveral, flying almost parallel to the U.S. East Coast.
The new GPS 3 will join a constellation of 31 GPS satellites currently in operation. Each satellite circles the earth twice per day.
The $568 million payloads is the third GPS 3 satellite made by Lockheed Martin. It separated from the rocket’s second stage approximately one hour and 29 minutes after liftoff. The GPS 3 satellite was deployed in a medium Earth orbit at an altitude of about 12,550 miles.
SpaceX’s first launch of a GPS 3 satellite was on December 23, 2018. Followed by the June 30 mission and the company is currently under contract to launch three more GPS 3 satellites over the next two years.
Eight minutes after liftoff, the Falcon 9’s brand-new first stage landed and was recovered by SpaceX in the Atlantic Ocean.
This marked the Falcon 9’s 87th successful mission, also the 49th first stage successfully recovered, as well as the first time SpaceX recovered a booster following a National Security Space Launch mission.
According to Satellite Prome.