News Item

Further delay to GPS launch

Launch of the GPS 2F-5 satellite has been delayed further whilst a previous Delta 4 launch anomaly is investigated.

The fifth GPS 2F satellite was originally to be launched by a Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral on 17 October, but slipped to 23 October - then, on 15 October, it was delayed indefinitely.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) has explained that 'updated conclusions' about the October 2012 Delta 4 launch - in which the upper stage experienced a thrust glitch - led to the postponement. Despite that rocket’s upper-stage engine under-performing, it ultimately was able to deliver its GPS 2F payload into orbit by using reserve fuel.

The Delta 4 returned to flight in May 2013, with the successful launch of a comms satellite - and has since conducted 2 more successful launches. In the meantime, in May, ULA successfully launched GPS 2F-4 using an Atlas 5 rocket.

ULA states that the GPS 2F-5 launch has been held to determine whether more modifications to the launch vehicle are warranted. It adds that the rocket 'has completed the standard and checkout on the launch pad and will be maintained in a ready state for spacecraft mate and launch, pending completion of this assessment'.

It adds that a new launch date will be determined once the assessment is completed in the coming weeks.

Details from Space News below.

  • 22 October 2013
  • Space

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