The countdown was stopped with 2 seconds remaining for the liftoff!
On Friday night, SpaceX is scheduled to launch the latest updated GPS satellite for the US Space Force from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This new spacecraft aims to help upgrade the existing GPS fleet. It is the fourth GPS satellite to travel to the orbit in the last three years but the 3rd one to be launched by SpaceX.
The flight GPS III SV04 is a vehicle that will take this new satellite to the orbit, making it the 31 primary GPS satellites in orbit. Produced by Lockheed Martin, these GPS III satellites gave a new M-Code signal embedded in them, which make the satellites reportedly much more accurate than the previous ones and have better and advanced “anti-jamming” features to resist cyber-attacks.
The GPS III satellites are also supposed to have better accessibility and ease of use for civilians. The vehicles have a latest “civil signal” that enables them to communicate easily with nearby satellite navigation systems present in space, particularly Galileo constellation in Europe having more than two dozen spacecraft. In this way, ordinary and commercial users seeking to leverage the system will have more advanced spacecraft overhead all the time.
The process of launching these GPS III replacements have been faced with several delays, including some related to the pandemic. Though, Lockheed Martin gave a go-ahead for the fifth satellite and said it’s waiting for its launch date. Meanwhile, the company says that they are still working on five additional GPS III satellites and three of them are almost finished and are at their testing stage.
The takeoff of GPS III SV04 is slated at 9:43 PM ET, on top of Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX from the Cape Canaveral Air Force in Florida. The company is using a brand-new Falcon 9 rocket to transport the satellite into the orbit. They plan to recover the Falcon 9 after the flight and decide to land the vehicle on company's one of the floating drone ships present in the Atlantic Ocean.
On Friday night October 2nd, at the launch date, SpaceX stopped or aborted the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket just two seconds before liftoff, without releasing any clear explanation as to what went wrong at the last second. SpaceX hasn't confirmed the launch date yet.