A software and security update by Lockheed Martin will improve the U.S. Air Force's GPS ground station used to communicate with the GPS 2F satellites, pictured above.

The U.S. Air Force is set to replace the worst-performing satellite in its GPS positioning, navigation and timing constellation with a new satellite now slated for launch May 15.

The GPS 2F-6 satellite, built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The GPS 2F satellites provide better accuracy and more resistance to jamming than the previous generation of GPS satellites, most of which are still in operation. 

Col. Steve Steiner, chief of the Air Force’s GPS Space Systems Directorate, told reporters May 8 that the new satellite would replace an earlier-generation GPS satellite that launched in June 1993. Air GPS operators in Colorado Springs, Colorado, have labeled that satellite as the constellation’s worst performer, he said.

The Air Force successfully launched its fifth GPS 2F satellite from Cape Canaveral Feb. 20. In addition to the upcoming mission, the service is scheduled to launch two more GPS 2F satellites later this year.