Mon, Mar 22, 2004
50th GPS Bird Launched Saturday
Make it 50... the number of GPS satellites launched since the
global positioning system was inaugurated decades ago.
The latest addition to the Earth-orbiting constellation launched
without a hitch Saturday. The $45-million satellite had the words,
"Lighthouse in the Sky" painted on the side of the satellite.
The Delta II launch was delayed for about 12 minutes after
officials spotted an pressure spike in the rocket's first-stage
The latest GPS addition will replace an 11-year old satellite in
the constellation, one which is nearing the end of its useful
The orbital insertion apparently went without a hitch. Fourteen
minutes after launch, the Lockheed-Martin satellite was safely in
its initial orbit. As are all US GPS satellites, this one will be
operated under the auspices of the USAF Space Command.
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