SpaceX launches advanced GPS satellite for US Space Force, sticks rocket landing at sea - Space.com
Jun 17, 2021 1 min, 41 secs

It's SpaceX's 19th rocket launch (and landing) of the year.

Space Force on Thursday (June 17), marking the 19th launch of the year here on the Space Coast. .

One of the company's two-stage Falcon 9 rockets blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station here at 12:09 p.m.

The GPS III SV05 satellite mission is the second to launch so far this month for SpaceX, following the launch of a broadband satellite for Sirius XM on June 6. .

Three previous advanced GPS III missions also launched on Falcon 9 rockets, including two missions last year.

military plans to launch a total of 10 upgraded GPS satellites, as part of an effort to replace aging members of its current constellation.

SpaceX has also secured a contract to launch the next GPS III mission as well, which is planned for sometime next year.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars with 1st GPS III navigation satellite.

Today's mission featured a first for the Space Force: flying a payload on a used rocket. .

Last year, the agency gave SpaceX the green light to fly its payloads on refurbished rockets.

The next two GPS missions, which are already scheduled to fly on SpaceX rockets sometime next year, will now launch atop refurbished rockets.

All of this is great news for SpaceX, as the company has been relying heavily on its fleet of veteran rockets, with many Falcon 9 first stages having racked up five or more flights each. .

It's also great news for Space Force and taxpayers as flying on reused rockets translates to a savings of nearly $53 million across the two flights (GPS III-SV05 and GPS III-SV06), Space Force officials said.

Space Force officials say other satellites to come will be named after space icons like Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride and Katherine Johnson.

Today's mission marks the 122nd Falcon 9 rocket to fly and the 19th mission of 2021 for SpaceX.

The Transporter-2 mission is scheduled to launch on June 24 and will launch a whole host of satellites, similar to the company's record-setting 143-satellite Transporter-1 mission in 2020. 


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