A shiny, white Falcon 9 rocket took to the skies today (June 30) at 4:10 p.m. EDT (2010 GMT), taking off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Today's launch is part of an ongoing effort by the Department of Defense to upgrade GPS satellites currently in space. The constellation of aging GPS satellites was launched roughly 20 years ago and technology has changed significantly in that time. The particular satellite launched today will replace one of the oldest ones in orbit.
Built by Lockheed Martin, this is the third GPS satellite of its kind to launch and will join two others just like it that are already in orbit. SpaceX launched one of those two satellites on a different Falcon 9 rocket in December 2018 and the other satellite launched atop the very last Delta IV Medium rocket in August 2019.
Called GPS III SV03, the 9,505-pound (4,311-kilogram) satellite is part of a family of satellites known as GPS III, which are designed to be three times as accurate and have up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities than their predecessors.