LAST OF ITS KIND LAUNCH: ULA Delta IV medium rocket lifts off one final time

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Published on 22 Aug 2019, 19:36
One of the oldest and most powerful rockets in operation blasted off from Cape Canaveral for the last time Thursday.

United Launch Alliance launched a next-generation GPS satellite for the U.S Air Force into space using its Delta IV Medium rocket. Lift-off happened at 9:06 a.m. after a possible hydrogen leak and a five minute delay to complete second stage propellant conditioning.

The satellite, named Magellan, is the second Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. It is part of the Air Force’s plan to upgrade and replace the 31 satellites in the Global Positioning System.

The new satellite offers improved accuracy, better anti-jam resiliency and a new signal for civil users.

“It’ll go from a 10 foot radius to a three foot radius and for those of us using our smartphones it’ll make for more accuracy,” said Kristin Jones, communication manager for L3 Harris Technologies, the company that built the GPS technology. “[We] maybe won’t see much of a difference but for a warfighter or for someone in search and rescue operations they’ll have a better pinpoint.”

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