Leaving Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 15th May was an unmanned Atlas rocket. On board is an upgraded global positioning system (GPS).

189-feet (58-meter) in height, it was built and launched by the United Launch Alliance. It entered Florida’s blue skies at 5.38pm in the evening.

And at the top of the rocket lies a 3400-pound Boeing constructed GPS 2F satellite, 4th of 12 satellites to be launched into orbit over the next few years.

The navigation satellites are utilized by the U.S. military, their allies as well as civilians. The benefits of new satellites would include greater accuracy, enhanced internal atomic clocks, better defense against signal jamming and a new signal for commercial airline companies.

The cost of the satellite is approximately $121 million and will replace a long overdue 1996 spacecraft which has been used twice its design lifetime. It will now be used as a spare.

With the satellite just launched, the GPS network will consist of 31 operational satellites in orbit. Next departure would be scheduled in October and will depart from the same location.

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