The work includes predicting problems and developing solutions for the GPS constellation, developing performance metrics and supporting multiple GPS systems (GPS 2F, above) on orbit and on the ground. Credit: United Launch Alliance

WASHINGTON — Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, Calif., has handed over the fifth satellite in the GPS 2F series of positioning, navigation and timing satellites to the U.S. Air Force, according to an April 8 press release from the company.

The GPS 2F-5 satellite launched Feb. 20 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Delta 4 rocket after a five-month delay prompted by questions about the rocket’s upper-stage engine.  

The Air Force has validated the satellite’s systems and activated the navigation payload, the release said.

The GPS 2F satellites provide better accuracy and resistance to jamming than the previous generation of GPS satellites, most of which are still in operation. The launch also helps bolster a GPS fleet whose satellites are beginning to show their age, Air Force officials say.

“As each GPS IIF joins the fleet, we are sustaining and modernizing the constellation for years to come,” Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, said in the release. “With this latest successful handover, Boeing is maintaining a robust operating rhythm this year to support the GPS program.”

The next satellite in the series, the GPS 2F-6, is expected to launch May 15 from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta 4, according to an unofficial NASA launch manifest.

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Mike Gruss is a senior staff writer for SpaceNews. He joined the publication in January 2013 to cover military space. Previously, he worked as a reporter and columnist for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. and The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind. He...