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GPS Block IIR-16 (M) Satellite Launch Successful

An Air Force Delta II booster successfully launches from Cape Canveral, Fla. Nov. 17. The joint government and industry launch was carrying the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System satellite. The satellite launched is the third of the modernized GPS satellites that incorporates various improvements that will provide greater accuracy, increased resistance to interference and enhanced performance for users. (U.S. Air Force photo)

An Air Force Delta II booster successfully launches from Cape Canveral, Fla. Nov. 17. The joint government and industry launch was carrying the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System satellite. The satellite launched is the third of the modernized GPS satellites that incorporates various improvements that will provide greater accuracy, increased resistance to interference and enhanced performance for users. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. -- The third modernized Global Positioning System (GPS) Block IIR-16 (M) satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Nov. 17.

The purpose of the launch was to provide military and civilian users with greater improved navigation and timing capabilities.

A Delta II rocket with the satellite enclosed in the rocket fairing, left pad 17A at 2:12 EST to begin the launch phase of the mission. The Delta II rocket has been instrumental in helping to sustain the GPS constellation.

This satellite has joined the two operational modernized IIR satellite. There are currently 13 other operational Block IIR satellites on-orbit within the overall 29-spacecraft constellation.

This modernized satellite offers a variety of enhanced features for the GPS user, such as two new signals, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military user as well as a second civil signal.

"I'm extremely pleased with today's successful launch and the superb performance of the entire team that made it happen. Putting up a second GPS satellite in 2 months may seem easy, but this launch campaign presented unique challenges that were overcome with a lot of hard work, attention to detail, and a tremendous team effort between our GPS customer, the Boeing Company, the 45th Space Wing, the Aerospace Corporation, and the Launch and Range Systems Wing. I am very proud of the team and its achievement, which extends the string of successful launches by the Space and Missile Systems Center to 48," said Col. James Planeaux, the Mission Director for the GPS IIR-16 (M) launch, and Commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center Delta Launch Systems Group.

The Space and Missile Systems Center is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, Military Satellite Communications, Defense Meteorological Satellites, space launch and range systems, the Air Force Satellite Control Network, Space-based Infrared Systems, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems and Space Situational Awareness capabilities. SMC manages more than $60 billion in contracts, has an annual operating budget of $7.8 billion (FY06) and employs more than 6,800 people worldwide.