Boeing Hands GPS 2F-8 to the Air Force

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WASHINGTON — Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, California, has handed over the eighth satellite in the GPS 2F series of positioning, navigation and timing satellites to the U.S. Air Force, according to a Dec. 18 press release from the company.

The GPS 2F-8 satellite launched Oct. 29 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. On-orbit checkout and validation of the satellite’s systems was completed Dec. 12, the release said.

The GPS 2F satellites provide advanced atomic clocks, better accuracy and improved 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.

GPS 2F-8 will replace an older satellite, launched in 2000, that will be placed into a reserve mode, Air Force officials have said. The current GPS constellation consists of 38 satellites, 31 of which are in active mode.

“With two-thirds of the 12 Boeing GPS 2Fs now on orbit, the constellation is setting new records for accuracy and the Boeing GPS 2F’s are consistently among the best performing,” Dan Hart, vice president of government space systems for Boeing Network & Space Systems, said in the release.

The next satellite in the series, the GPS 2F-9, is expected to launch in March from Cape Canaveral aboard a ULA Delta 4, according to an unofficial NASA launch manifest.