Tech & Science Coronavirus pandemic forces US Space Force, SpaceX to delay GPS satellite launch
SpaceX Starlink: How to watch Falcon 9 launch 60 satellites to space Monday
SpaceX attempts to go five for five with its Starlink satellite megaconstellationNevertheless, Elon Musk's pioneering spaceflight company is set to continue sending them up -- and the launch and return of a Falcon 9 is always a wonderful thing. If you want to watch the launch and landing live, here's how.
The plannedlaunch of a new GPS navigation satellite this month for the U.S. military has been delayed to at least June due to the ongoing , Space Force officials say.
(April 7), officials with the Space Force's Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) announced that they've postponed the launch "to minimize the potential of COVID-19 exposure to the launch crew and early-orbit operators."
SpaceX Crew Dragon preps for first flight in Florida
The mission is reportedly meant to further the possibility of a spacecraft regularly transporting people to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX didn't immediately respond for comment. Crew Dragon will fly Behnken and Hurley to and from the International Space Station after undergoing electromagnetic interference testing, according to a tweet from SpaceX on Tuesday. Crew Dragon employees departed for Florida on Wednesday from the Hawthorne Factory in California.
"We do not make this decision lightly, however, given our GPS constellation remains strong, we have the opportunity to make a deliberate decision to maintain our mission assurance posture, without introducing additional health risk to personnel or mission risk to the launch," Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, SMC commander and program executive officer for space, said in the statement.
The Space Force's GPS navigation satellite constellation consists of 31 satellites in orbit now. Like its name suggests, GPS III-3 will be the third of a new modernized series (the GPS III block) to join the constellation. The GPS III design offers three times the accuracy and an up to eight-time improvement on anti-jamming capabilities over its predecessor, the GPS II block, SMC officials said.
SpaceX wants to send astronauts to the ISS for the first time in May
© Brendan Smialowski The US space company SpaceX wants to send astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time in May. A SpaceX missile of the Falcon 9 type is supposed to launch the two US astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The US space company SpaceX plans to send astronauts to the International Space Station in May for the first time.
"The GPS system supports vital U.S. and allied operations worldwide, unabated. As the COVID-19 pandemic is a threat to national security, likewise, rescheduling the launch is in the interest of national security," Thompson said in the statement. "We have to get it right the first time, and protecting our people is just as important as cost, schedule, and performance."
SMC officials aim to launch three GPS satellites in 2020, with GPS III-3 being the first of them. Its immediate predecessor, GPS III-2,
But to launch those GPS missions, SMC officials must ensure make procedure and facility changes at the GPS III Launch and Checkout Capability operations center to reduce the number of personnel on site, as well as support proper social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Once these efforts are completed, and the crews have rehearsed and are deemed proficient and ready to execute under these modified conditions, we fully intend to return to our launch cadence for deploying GPS III satellites," Col. Edward Byrne, chief of Medium Earth Orbit Space Systems Division, said in the statement.
The GPS III-3 launch delay is not the first for SpaceX due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, company had hoped to launch the radar Earth-observation satellite SAOCOM 1B for Argentina,when travel restrictions prevent
Historic SpaceX launch postponed after last-second abort .
A record-setting flight has been moved to Wednesday.It's one postponement that has nothing to do with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic: SpaceX scrubbed its latest launch of 60 Starlink satellites Sunday morning and will try again Wednesday.