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GPS III Space Vehicle 03 “Columbus” safely arrives in Florida

GPS III-3 Transport

A satellite transport container with GPS III SV03 "Columbus" is offloaded upon its arrival at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida, Feb. 5, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo / Lt. Col. Maggie Sullivan)

GPS III-3 Transport

A satellite transport container with GPS III SV03 "Columbus" aboard, prepares to move to Astrotech Space Operations facility for final testing and checkout after its arrival at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida, Feb. 5, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo / Lt. Col. Maggie Sullivan)

GPS III-3 Transport

Dreux Zimmer from the Space and Missile Systems Center's Production Corps' Medium Earth Orbit Division, GPS III program, prepare the satellite transport container with GPS III SV03 "Columbus" for loading aboard a C-17 Globemaster III early Sunday morning, Feb. 2, 2020 at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. (U.S. Air Force photo / Capt. Ken Devine)

GPS III-3 Transport

Loadmasters from the 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, prepare to install the satellite container with GPS III SV03 "Columbus" aboard a C-17 Globemaster III for the trip from the Lockheed Martin facility in Waterton, Colorado via Buckley Air Force Base to Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo /Capt. Ken Devine)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. --

The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center successfully delivered the third GPS III satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Feb. 5, 2020.

GPS III Space Vehicle (SV) 03 was safely transported from the Lockheed Martin facility in Waterton, Colorado to Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida. The satellite named “Columbus” in honor of Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who completed four transatlantic voyages and explored the Americas,, was carried aboard a C-17 Globemaster III originating from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

The delivery of GPS III SV03 starts the clock for final testing and checkout prior to launch. The satellite will be processed at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Florida to ensure the full functionality of the satellite, prepare the satellite for propellant loading, and encapsulate the satellite in its protective fairing. At the completion of these activities, the satellite will be horizontally integrated with the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

“The arrival of the third GPS III satellite is another landmark for the program and is a testament to the professionalism, hard work and dedication of GPS team members from all parts of the country,” said Col. Edward Byrne, chief of Production Corps’ Medium Earth Orbit Space Systems Division. “The delivery of SV03 marks the start of our second GPS III launch campaign on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and brings us another step closer in advancing the GPS constellation with more capable satellites.”

GPS III SV03 is slated to launch in April 2020. Once on-orbit, it will join the operational constellation of 31 GPS satellites, delivering enhanced resiliency, better accuracy, and advanced anti-jam capabilities. GPS delivers the gold standard in positioning, navigation, and timing services supporting vital U.S. and allied operations worldwide, and underpins critical financial, transportation, and agricultural infrastructure, supporting billions of users around the globe.