Sci-tech

SpaceX launches 64 small satellites in single mission

SpaceX launches 64 small satellites in single mission

"The most important thing is that we get that rocket up safely and securely and it achieves its mission", said US Vice President Mike Pence, also Chairman of the US National Space Council. GPS III is created to provide three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. The launch marks SpaceX's first-ever launch of a military satellite, giving musk's rocket company an opportunity to break into the lucrative market of military space. This was due to weather and technical issues.

GPS III SV01 is the first of an entirely new, next generation GPS satellite created to modernize the GPS constellation. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than any of the Global Positioning System satellites on-orbit today.

It is the first in a series, nicknamed Vespucci after the 15th-century Italian explorer who calculated Earth's circumference to within 80 kilometres. "We will then send it commands to deploy its solar arrays and antennas, and begin on-orbit checkout and tests, including extensive signals testing with our advanced navigation payload provided by Harris Corporation".

The rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 4 at the air force base at 10:34 a.m. PST (1834 GMT).

SpaceX is already under contract to launch four more GPS III missions.

More news: Trump to boy: Do you believe in Santa?

But it'll be a while before Vespucci, which was built by aerospace company Lockheed Martin, is fully up and running.

The company managed to fly its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time in February, and its Falcon 9 launches went off well throughout the year.

This morning's launch was originally scheduled to occur on Tuesday (Dec. 18), but SpaceX called off that attempt after receiving an "out of family" reading from sensors on the Falcon 9's first stage. It is but one of 32 planned GPS III satellites that will replace older ones now in orbit.

The very next year Musk's company secured an $83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite.


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