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Upgraded satellite launched for the GPS constellation

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Delta II booster carrying the fourth modernized NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite into space today. The NAVSTAR GPS was launched at 8:23 a.m. (EDT) from Space Launch Complex 17A here.

The satellite will join the constellation of 30 operational satellites on-orbit providing global coverage and increased performance of the GPS services to users worldwide.

"The 45th Space Wing and its mission partners have again accomplished another major milestone in our national quest to improve and maintain our space capabilities," said Col. Stephen Butler, 45th Space Wing vice commander. "The GPS constellation has worldwide significance and all of the satellites are launched from right here at the world's premier gateway to space."

GPS is the world's foremost space-based positioning and navigation system. Endeavors such as mapping, aerial refueling, rendezvous operations, geodetic surveying and search and rescue operations have all benefited from GPS's accuracy.

"GPS is not only a military asset, but a national asset due to its civil applications," said Capt. Bill Bakker, GPS IIR field program manager, 45th Launch Support Squadron. "This mission is vital to the sustainment of our GPS constellation. Our team takes a great deal of satisfaction and pride in replenishing a constellation that is so critical to our warfighters."