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26-Sep-05 | Delta flight 313 – NAVSTAR IIR-14 (M1)

The Air Force’s first “modernized” GPS satellite reached a perfect transfer orbit this morning on the wings of Delta flight 313. Official liftoff time was 23:37:00.531 EDT (25-Sep, or 03:37 on 26-Sep UTC), the very opening of the launch window — the result of a flawless countdown routine.

Once it reaches operational orbit (within the next several days), NAVSTAR IIR-M1 will begin a four-month shakedown cruise as Air Force controllers test its improved resistance to signal interference and confirm its interoperability with existing GPS satellites and receivers. It will ultimately replace NAVSTAR IIA-20, launched in 1993 aboard Delta 220, which has some useful life left and which will be moved to another slot in the constellation.

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