Following years of planning, a GPS navigation satellite built by Lockheed Martin will be the first operational U.S. military payload to ride a reused SpaceX booster on a launch from Florida Thursday, laying the groundwork for future national security missions to save money by incorporating recycled rocket parts.
The Space Force says it changed the nickname of a GPS navigation satellite launched in June from Columbus to instead honor Matthew Henson, a Black explorer on the first expedition to the North Pole more than a century ago, “to acknowledge a fuller history of courageous explorers and pioneers.” The military’s next GPS navigation satellite, set for launch Friday night, is nicknamed Sacagawea.
SpaceX is preparing for liftoff Tuesday of its first mission for the U.S. Space Force, a launch from Cape Canaveral that will deploy a new GPS navigation satellite using a redesigned profile to allow the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage booster to reserve enough propellant for landing on SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
A fresh GPS navigation beacon destined to replace a nearly 17-year-old satellite rode into orbit from Cape Canaveral on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Thursday, marking the first time risk-averse U.S. military space officials have agreed to launch a national security mission on a reused commercial booster.
This listing shows the completed space launches from spaceports around the globe in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. For earlier missions, see pages listing launches from 2004 through 2008, from 2009 through 2011, from 2012 through 2014, from 2015 through 2016, and from 2017 through 2018. 2021 June 17, 2021Falcon 9 • GPS 3 SV05 Launch window: 1609:35 GMT (12:09:35 p.m. EDT) Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the U.S. Space Force’s fifth third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin. Read our full story. [June 17] June 16/17, 2021Long March 2F • Shenzhou 12 Launch time: 0122:27 GMT on 17th (9:22:27 p.m. EDT on 16th) Launch site: Jiuquan, China A Chinese Long March 2F rocket launched the Shenzhou 12 spacecraft with three Chinese astronauts to rendezvous and dock with the Chinese space station in low Earth orbit. This is China’s seventh crewed space mission, and the first to the Chinese space
The U.S. Space Force says it will launch two GPS navigation satellites on reused Falcon 9 boosters next year through a restructured contract with SpaceX that saved taxpayers $52 million, the first time the military has agreed to fly operational national security payloads on previously-flown rockets.
The sixth and final satellite in the U.S. military’s network of ultra-secure, nuclear-hardened AEHF communications relay stations has arrived in Florida for final preparations for liftoff in March on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, the first of nearly 20 U.S. Space Force missions planned for launch in the first year of operations for the new military service.
A regularly updated listing of planned orbital missions from spaceports around the globe. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. “NET” stands for no earlier than. “TBD” means to be determined. Recent updates appear in red type. Please send any corrections, additions or updates by e-mail to: email@example.com. See our Launch Log for a listing of completed space missions since 2004. Latest changes: June 18: Adding Soyuz/Pion-NKS 1; Falcon 9/Transporter 2 delayed; Vega/Pléiades Neo 4 delayed; Adding time for Proton/Nauka; Adding Long March 7/Tianzhou 3; Adding Long March 2F/Shenzhou 13; Updating payloads for Ariane 5/VA255 June 10: Adding time for Pegasus XL/TacRL-2; Updating time for Minotaur 1/NROL-111; Atlas 5/STP-3 delayed June 7: Adding Pegasus XL/TacRL-2; Adding period for Minotaur 1/NROL-111; Updating window for Falcon 9/GPS 3 SV05; Atlas 5/STP-3 delayed; Adding date for Falcon 9/Transporter 2; Adding time for Soyuz/Progress 78P; Adding time for Soyuz/OneWeb 8; Adding date for Ariane 5/Star One D2 & Eutelsat Quantum; Falcon Heavy/USSF 44 delayed; Adding Ariane 5/Hotbird 13F & GSAT 24; Ariane 5/SES 17 & Ovzon 3 delayed; Adding Atlas 5/Landsat