CAPE CANAVERAL — A blitz of launches updating the nation’s Global Positioning System constellation concluded Friday with an Atlas V rocket’s successful first flight of the year.
A few hours after an on-time 8:38 a.m. liftoff into an azure sky, the 19-story United Launch Alliance rocket deployed the last of a dozen satellites in the series labeled GPS IIF, or 2F.
The mission marked the “end of an era,” Col. Steve Whitney, director of the Air Force’s Global Positioning Systems Directorate, said before the launch.
And it wrapped up what Whitney called one of the most aggressive launch campaigns in the last 20 years, with eight GPS satellites delivered to orbit over the past two years, a rate of one every few months.
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