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GPS 2R-20 Scheduled For Launch Tomorrow


pocketgpsworld.comWeather forecasters are predicting an 80% chance of suitable launch conditions for lift-off tomorrow of GPS 2R-20 from Cape Canaveral atop a Delta 2 launch vehicle.

The launch window runs for 15mins from 4.34am EDT (8.34am UK). It has been over a year since the last Delta 2 launch and this is the first of two scheduled launches this year with the second being the last Delta 2 launch and the last 2R type satellite.

Once these last two Block II GPS 2R models have been launched the next phase will be the launch of the Block III GPS 2F vehicles which require the larger Atlas 5 delivery vehicles.

The delivery of the GPS satellite into the correct orbit involves a number of stages.

  1. First comes the launch phase, this places the vehicle into an orbit of 111 miles altitude assisted by the first and later the second stages of the Delta 2.
  1. This is then followed by further burn of the second stage engine to push the vehicle into a 670 mile high orbit.
  1. Finally the satellite is spun whilst attached to the spin table on the third stage. The second stage is then discarded as the third stage motor ignites to send the satellite into its final orbit at 11,000 miles. Final adjustments are made a few days later to refine the orbit.

 

GPS 2R-20 launchpad

Image Courtesy of Boeing

 

GPS 2R-20 will replace GPS 2A-27 which was launched back in 1996 and originally planned to serve for only seven years! GPS 2A-27 will continue to serve as a backup.

Next time you curse the slow lock on your device it's worth remembering how far away these little marvels are, 11,000 miles is quite some way!

 

For more on how GPS works, see our introduction to How GPS Works here.

 

Block II GPS

A Block II Satellite

 

Article: Darren Griffin


Comments
Posted by MikeB on Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:47 pm Reply with quote

This launch is quite significant as it is now 20 years that the Delta 2 has been hauling GPS Satellites into orbit. I believe that GPS 2R-20 (20 again) will be the 47th GPS spaceship to be launched into service.

If you are up early enough and are not on your way to work then you can watch the launch live on the Internet on the United Launch Alliance webcast at http://www.ulalaunch.com/Delta_II_GPS_IIR-20.html I am not sure what time it will go live though.

You can also follow the launch on twitter from SpaceFlightNow.

If you are not able to watch it then you can see a report and video of the GPS 2R-17 launch here.

[Edited to add WebCast actual URL and Spaceflight now Twitter.]


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by MikeB on Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:37 pm Reply with quote


This is the mission "patch" for the launch project.


and yes that is Mighty Mouse in the centre logo...


This is a schematic of the Delta II rocket detailing all the components including the GPS spacecraft.


This diagram shows the planned trajectory of the rocket as it ascends to its target orbit.


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by gatorguy6996 on Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:53 am Reply with quote

That's worth getting up for, since with clear skies I'll see the live launch. Night launches here are pretty impressive, but don't happen much anymore.


Garmin 1695 / 255 / 760 w/MSN - Droid w/Google nav + Navigon - Navigon 8100T - Dakota10 - GPSMap76C - GeoMate Jr.

 
Posted by MikeB on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:00 am Reply with quote

gatorguy6996 Wrote:
That's worth getting up for, since with clear skies I'll see the live launch. Night launches here are pretty impressive, but don't happen much anymore.

Hi Gatorguy, what city do you live in?

The best place to watch Delta II launches are from Jetty Beach, but I suppose that info is too late for you now.

Watching a night launch is quite spectacular. I saw one in February when a secret spy satellite was put up. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48-WU7jIyLE for my launch video taken from Port Canaveral. I was about 6 miles from the launch pad checking the status of the flight on twitter so I knew when it was going to launch.


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by MikeB on Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:23 am Reply with quote

Just 68 minutes after the on-time lift off from Launch Complex 17A in Cape Canaveral the spaceship designated GPS IIR-20 was successfully deployed. We watched the launch live on the United Launch Alliance webcast, to see a perfect night time launch of a Delta 2 rocket.

The Delta 2 launches can be seen by the public from a location about 6 miles away at Jetty Beach, Port Canaveral. This gives a perfect view of all but the base of the launch vehicle.

The Delta 2 spacecraft have had 140 missions a large proportion of them have been GPS satellites, and have had 87 consecutive successful launches.

"Congratulations to the Air Force and all of our mission partners on today's successful GPS satellite launch," said Jim Sponnick, United Launch Alliance's vice president of the Delta Product Line. "One third of the 140 successful Delta 2 launches have been dedicated to GPS satellites. The ULA Delta team is extremely proud of the role we've played in launching this incredible satellite constellation. During the past two decades, GPS has changed how people navigate around their neighborhoods and around the globe. GPS has also greatly improved military operations as well as numerous maritime, aircraft and business operations worldwide."


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by dhn on Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:12 am Reply with quote

Gatorguy lives in the Lakeland/Winter Haven area of Florida, east of Tampa..


David

 
Posted by MikeB on Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:30 am Reply with quote

dhn Wrote:
Gatorguy lives in the Lakeland/Winter Haven area of Florida, east of Tampa..

Not far from where I go to in Florida: Davenport/Haines City, a few miles down the I4. It is about a 90 minute drive to Cape Canaveral from there.


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by Andy_P on Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:44 pm Reply with quote

MikeB Wrote:



...and yes that is Mighty Mouse in the centre logo...


And isn't that the TomTom car symbol on it's way to the stars?

Another IQ routing cock-up? Laughing


"Settling in nicely" ;-)

 
Posted by gatorguy6996 on Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:45 pm Reply with quote

And setting the alarm for 4:15 PM did not work well at all Stop it!


Garmin 1695 / 255 / 760 w/MSN - Droid w/Google nav + Navigon - Navigon 8100T - Dakota10 - GPSMap76C - GeoMate Jr.

 
Posted by matthewj on Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:38 pm Reply with quote

FWIW, watching one of these launches from Jetty Beach is simply amazing, and well worth organising a trip to the space centre for if you are able to coordinate a trip to Florida with a launch. I videoed the launch we watched, but you cannot capture the amazing noise or brightness of the rocket flame that you get in real life.

The locals said that the rocket launches are not too busy, but shuttles fill the whole camp ground.

And of course the space centre is good too - worth budgeting two days for as you can't see it all in a day.


 
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