Last GPS II Satellite Ready for Launch, Paving Way for Next Generation

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February 2, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: February 2 on

The first Air Force launch of 2016 will be the last for the current generation of GPS satellites.The GPS IIF-12, scheduled for a Feb. 5 launch, will the twelfth and final satellite in the Block IIF group that?s been operating since 2010, and the final GPS II launch, which has been sending satellites into space since 1989. The next generation, GPS III, is set to launch in May 2017. Col. Steve Whitney, the director of the Global Positioning System Directorate, said that the first GPS III satellite passed critical environmental testing in December. As for the GPS IIF launch, Whitney called it “the end of an era.”