- SpaceX is about to launch a GPS III satellite for the U.S. Space Force, providing a new level of capability for civil and military users.
- The launch will be live-streamed by SpaceX along with commentary on the launch and the hardware that is headed to space.
- This is the second such Space Force launch that SpaceX is facilitating.
SpaceX has a lot of balls in the air right now. The company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is currently docked to the International Space Station after a successful launch and docking with the orbiting laboratory, and the Starship program is getting a boost, not to mention the regular schedule of satellite launches and of course SpaceX’s own Starlink communications project. Today, the company will attempt to check yet another item off of its 2020 to-do list when it launches a GPS satellite for the U.S. Space Force.
The launch, which will take place from Cape Canaveral, will send satellite GPS III SV03 into Earth orbit. It’ll be the third satellite launch for the U.S. Space Force and as always, SpaceX will be live streaming the event for us all to enjoy.
These so-called “National Security Space Launch” missions (NSSL) have been carried out twice before, and one of those was on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The government and SpaceX have a pretty cozy relationship, and that’s bolstered by the fact that SpaceX’s reusable rocket technology can provide launch services for reasonable rates. Quick turnaround times between missions are also a huge plus for both sides.
As for today’s launch, the GPS III satellite that will ride atop the Falcon 9 is just one of many pieces of hardware that will provide greater capabilities to many, including military users. “The GPS III program brings a new standard of excellence for the entire space community,” Cordell DeLaPena of the Space Production Corps said in a statement. “Our production team and contract partners have developed an indispensable tool that is available to military and civil users around the world. Our team will continue to advance the launch campaign for the remaining space vehicles and I anticipate the successful launch of SV03 on the Falcon 9.”
This mission was originally scheduled to get off the ground as early as April, but the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans dramatically. Now, with parts of the country beginning to return to a (possibly temporary) sense of normalcy, the Space Force and SpaceX are both ready to give it a shot.
As is the case with most SpaceX launches, the company will host a live stream complete with commentary and additional details regarding the mission, the launch vehicle, and the payload. The live stream is scheduled to begin shortly before the launch itself, which is to take place at 3:55 p.m. ET. The video will be available via the embedded YouTube window above.