SpaceX launches Space Force GPS satellite with near-perfect weather
A Falcon 9 launched Wednesday at sunrise from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station carrying a GPS satellite for the US Space Force. A cold front stalled out north of the launch site, keeping the forecast in SpaceX’s favor.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – What does perfect weather for a rocket launch look like? Look no further than Wednesday's forecast for Florida's Space Coast which offered ideal conditions for SpaceX to launch a navigation satellite for the U.S. Space Force.
Florida’s forecast provided a nearly perfect morning for SpaceX to launch a Falcon 9 rocket.
Weather is the primary reason for launch scrubs, but roughly two out of three attempts launch on time. The forecast was no problem for SpaceX during this beautiful sunrise launch.
A Falcon 9 launched Wednesday at 7:10 a.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station carrying the sixth GPS III navigational satellite for Space Force.
The launch forecast issued by the 45th Weather Squadron was as close to perfect for a rocket launch. Launch weather officers forecasted greater than a 90% chance of favorable launch conditions.
According to the launch forecast, dry air and mild temperatures are dominating the Florida east coast forecast this week. A cold front stalled out north of the launch site on Wednesday, keeping the forecast in SpaceX’s favor.
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After a cool start to the week, Florida will see the warmer winter temperatures the Sunshine State is known for by the end of the week. Wednesday was still chilly by any Floridian’s standards, starting out in the upper 50s and 60s.
Liftoff winds were light between 7 and 12 mph. The primary weather concern was a few cumulus clouds near the range.
After launch, SpaceX landed the Falcon 9 rocket booster on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. The booster touched down about 8 minutes after liftoff and will be re-flown on a future launch. Booster recovery weather risk was moderate, according to the forecast.
The booster supporting this mission previously launched four astronauts in October as part of the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station.
What is SpaceX launching?
This marks the sixth GPS III satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Space Force.
The satellite is part of the Space Force's effort to modernize its GPS satellite constellation, which is used by more than 4 billion users globally.
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GPS is owned and operated by Space Force and provides navigation to everyday people, as well as position, navigation and timing signals for agriculture industries, warfighters and more.
In all, Lockheed Martin will build 32 new GPS satellites to complete the new constellation. Wednesday's launch marks the fifth GPS III satellite launched by SpaceX.