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.
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.
Two SpaceX rockets are standing on launch pads several miles apart on Florida’s Space Coast awaiting launch opportunities Thursday and Friday, once an oft-delayed Delta 4-Heavy rocket from rival United Launch Alliance is able to blast off from Cape Canaveral with a top secret U.S. government spy satellite.
Continuing a dizzying series of rescheduled launches from Florida’s Space Coast, poor weather at the Kennedy Space Center forced SpaceX to keep a Falcon 9 rocket and 60 Starlink broadband satellites on the ground Monday. The Starlink launch is expected to be delayed until Thursday, after a pair of national security missions are set to blast off from Cape Canaveral Tuesday.