The U.S. Air Force's fifth GPS IIF satellite was scheduled to lift off Oct. 23 aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. But ULA said it needs more time to evaluate a problem that occurred with an earlier Delta IV launch.
Although the October 2012 launch was deemed a success, a rocket engine fuel leak resulted in lower-than-expected thrust. An ongoing investigation of that glitch recently produced “some updated conclusions” about the technical events that unfolded, ULA said.
ULA said it hopes to be ready to announce a new launch date for the Boeing-built GPS IIF-5 satellite in the coming weeks. The delay is not expected to affect the Nov. 18 Cape Canaveral launch of a NASA Mars probe aboard a ULA Atlas V rocket.
GPS IIF is a new generation of GPS satellites designed to provide increased accuracy and better resistance to jamming, among other improvements. GPS IIF-5 will be the 25th flight for the Delta IV, which had its first flight in 2002.
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