Final GPS Block IIA Satellite to Be Launched in First "All-Boeing" Rocket, Satellite Launch
The twenty-eighth and final satellite of the U.S. Air Force's NAVSTAR Global Positioning System Block IIA program will be launched here tomorrow, Nov. 4, The Boeing Company said today.
"The last Block IIA satellite will be placed in orbit by a Delta II launch vehicle," said Rich Arras, Global Positioning System (GPS) director for Boeing. "This marks the first time a satellite and rocket will fly together under the Boeing name."
The Boeing rocket that will boost the final GPS Block IIA satellite into orbit is the Delta II -- a member of the reliable workhorse family of Delta expendable launch vehicles that have logged more than 234 successful launches since 1960.
The launch also coincides with the Company's work on the preliminary phases of its next GPS contract. That contract, awarded in April 1996 and valued at $1.3 billion, calls for up to 33 advanced Block IIF GPS satellites to be constructed through the year 2012. The first is scheduled to be launched in 2001.
GPS is the world's premier navigation satellite system. The system operates via a constellation of 24 satellites (not including spares), a ground control system, and thousands of terminals that provide civilian and military users in the air, at sea, and on the ground their precise position on the Earth's surface. The system is available to properly equipped users around the world -- day and night, in all weather conditions.
"We're very proud of the record the GPS system has compiled," added Arras. "Collectively, the satellites have totaled more than 140 years of on-orbit service; we're looking forward to adding to that total during Block IIF."
Boeing involvement in GPS began in 1974 when it won government contracts to build 11 developmental satellites and thousands of receiver sets. Under a $1.35 billion contract awarded in 1983, Boeing built a total of 40 Block I, II, and IIA satellites -- including a next generation prototype and 28 Block IIA production satellites.
Boeing assumed responsibility for the GPS program in December 1996 with the acquisition of the aerospace and defense businesses of Rockwell International; the Company acquired the Delta launch vehicle business upon its merger with McDonnell Douglas in August of this year. The Delta vehicles are built in Huntington Beach, Calif.; the GPS satellites in nearby Seal Beach, Calif.